After Hawaii wildfire, Phoenix builders want to help — with tiny homes

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Monday, August 28, 2023 - 1:56pm

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Jean Clare Sarmiento/KJZZ
Downtown Lahaina in Maui in April 2022.

Two Phoenix-area businesses are trying to help those who’ve lost their homes in Maui wildfires by sending tiny homes to the island.

Goodyear-based United Tiny Homes started building 300- to 500-square feet homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to create more affordable options during a housing crisis.

Now, CEO Gail Kingsbury said those homes could provide temporary shelter for Hawaiians while they rebuild.

"I’m looking at this going, how can we give these people a home, shelter, not in a school yard, not in a tent and away from some of the toxicity of what’s been created by the fire," she said.

Her company has teamed up with another small home builder in Arizona for the project. Kingsbury said due to some of the shipping and logistical issues, they’re probably still 60 days away from getting the homes in place.

“We’ve got four or five units here that are ready to go," she said. "We just ... It’s gonna take a little time to figure out: ‘Where can they go and how can we get ‘em there?'"

From what she's heard from officials in Hawaii, residents may not be able to begin rebuilding for a year because there's nowhere to dispose of the toxic waste left behind. 

BusinessEnvironment Wildfires