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Builder’s mission is to increase the supply of ADUs so more people can have an affordable place to live

Holly Huntley

Meet Holly Huntley, general contractor and owner of environs, a small construction company that specializes in building ADUs, or accessory dwelling units. Holly is working to fill the housing shortage with small, affordable and accessible units in single-family neighborhoods.

“I love that I get to be a tiny part of the solution around creating more living spaces in our urban environment,” she says.

Of the 17 ADUs she has built, six have been for people moving to Portland to live next to their children and grandchildren and/or to receive support as they enter a different phase of life. These ADUs have “visitability” features like wider doors and larger bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. “This makes things easier for current occupants and increases a limited inventory of homes that are designed with universal usership in mind,” says Huntley. 

Another six of the ADUs were built for homeowners who moved into the ADU and rented out their main house to reduce their housing costs and provide additional income from long-term rentals. Another handful stayed in their home and rented the ADU.

Allowing and encouraging homeowners to maximize their most important investment is vital to the success of our community.

Says Huntley, “Only one of the ADUs I’ve built has entered the short-term rental market — which was not the original intent and not the future plan.”

As she worked with her clients, several common goals emerged: to make better use of their property; create a healthy, efficient home for themselves; provide a long-term rental unit at a fair rate; and secure housing costs for themselves. 

“I am fortunate to be able to work with people in my community who have similar beliefs around what our neighborhoods should be doing and providing,” she muses. “We need more and varied types of housing, and ADUs as urban infill meet a valuable fraction of this need. Allowing and encouraging homeowners to maximize their most important investment is vital to the success of our community. While it is rooted in housing, the impact goes well beyond shelter.”