Yukie Hiratsuka applied for our Fall Semester 2020 Future Contractor Scholarship and her essay was selected to be one of our voted upon finalists. Below is some student information about Yukie and her essay submission. You can vote for her essay submission by clicking herehttps://www.ccisbonds.com/vote/.

Yukie is a junior at Boise State University, where she is working towards a degree in construction management. What she enjoys most about her studies is learning about the different architectural styles of commercial and residential buildings. Yuki is active in her community as a member of Sigma Lambda Chi (Construction Honor Society) and enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with their two dogs, Kiki and Coco. 

Yukie’s essay: With the growing need for housing, specifically affordable housing, how viable are the use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to replace the building of full-size, single-family homes? What other options do you think the construction industry should consider when addressing the housing crisis?

The issue of affordable housing and homelessness is a rising problem that many communities across this great nation face. My community of Boise faces this issue as well and there are many viable solutions that are needed in order to help our residents. I moved to Boise, Idaho for my work in 2015. Since then, Boise’s median housing price has jumped from $204,000 to $379,000, nearly 86% increase in the short time period. Now, Boise is one of the fastest growing cities in America. Considering our average wage increased by 1% - 3% annually, it is extremely difficult to get affordable housing to many local residents. BCA (Building Contractor Association of Southwestern Idaho) hosts “Parade of Homes”, which is a showcase of home designs in new construction by local builders. I go to this event every year and notice a trend of ADU in these new constructions. The average new construction in Ada county is $416,000 as of May 2020. It is a lot of money for an average Idaho family. It makes sense to create an ADU and get financial help from your extended family members or external renters. I bought a 2-bedroom 1-bath single-family house in 2016 and fixed up the house and created an additional bedroom and bathroom. The additional space is currently listed on Airbnb and generates enough monthly income to cover the monthly mortgage cost. In addition, there is another trend for tiny houses. Tiny houses not only provide affordability but also promote a new lifestyle. My family lives in a 2-bedroom 1-bath portion of the house, approximately 1300 sq. ft living space, is more than enough for us to live a comfortable life. The small house gives me more free time and less time to clean. As COVID-19 changed a lot of things, WFH (work from home) would be one of the biggest changes. The new normal would free us from living closer to cities and cut our commuting time. This trend would give us more housing options. You could also buy a spacious house in the suburbs. If you prefer city life, you could buy a tiny house or create ADU in cities. As a builder, giving more housing options would be key to future housing markets. Instead of developing a massive suburban area with many “cookie-cutter” houses, we could offer a smaller, more practical house or create an ADU in the same lot. We should also work with community leaders to help promote additional affordable housing so that more residents are not displaced throughout our communities. As an immigrant from Japan, I did not see the issue of homelessness at such capacity as I do in the States, however, this is my new home. The issue of affordability and sustainability is one of the reasons I wanted to be in the construction industry in the first place, and as Americans, I believe we can make a great impact on our residents starting with the field of construction.