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housing

Apodments: Affordable Housing Or Flawed Developments?

Apr 29, 2013

The Seattle City Council is considering a moratorium on apodments, the tiny rental units with shared kitchens that have been cropping up around town. Critics complain that apodment developers are able to avoid environmental and design review.

At issue is a loophole in the city land-use code. In Seattle a single-dwelling unit is defined in large part by whether or not it has a kitchen, and a building with nine kitchens triggers a design review. That means buildings with dozens of apartments, but only seven or eight kitchens, are able to avoid review.

Apodment supporters say the bottom line is, more cheap apartments are needed. Ross Reynolds talks design and development of apodments with listeners.

Liz Jones / KUOW

A new mega-hotel proposed for downtown Seattle aims to draw more big conventions to the city. The developer posted its official public notice with the city Thursday, as a first step in the approval process. The proposal is to build a 43-story tower on the block that’s currently home to the Greyhound bus station.

KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

Kristin O'Donnell loves meetings. "Absolutely my hobby. I do enjoy meetings," she tells me over a cup of tea in the Panama Hotel. Meetings, she says, offer a way to affect change in her community. And besides, she likes to put on a show. "To a large extent community organizing is theater; it works just often enough that I'm hooked."

Flickr Photo/jseattle

Dane Corrida works as a hotel manager for a luxury cruise line based in Seattle. He owns a house on Capitol Hill, but since he spends most of his time working on the boats, he rents it out. If he has a couple of weeks off here and there, he can usually charm a friend or two into letting him couch surf.

Twitter Profile Photo

Seattle homes are now worth 14.4 percent more than they were a year ago. That’s according to Seattle based real estate firm Zillow, who release monthly reports on the value of homes in Seattle and elsewhere in the region. On the national level, the US has just made it through our 12th straight month of increasing home values. Top Zillow officials say that these numbers are a good indicator that local and national housing markets are showing significant improvements. Ross Reynolds talks with Zillow's Cheif Economist Stan Humphries about buying, selling and renting in western Washington.

A Look Inside A Micro Apartment

Mar 18, 2013
apodment
Flickr Photo/Jseattle/Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

We've been taking a look at the rise of microhousing in Seattle. Tiny apartments that offer cheaper rent for less living space have been popping up in high demand neighborhoods like the University District and Capitol Hill. Some residents have voiced concerns over the new developments, fearing they skirt zoning laws and create too much density too quickly. Today, KUOW's Jeannie Yandel takes us inside a micro apartment. Also, we'll talk with Seattle microhousing developer Jim Potter.

Rising Popularity Of Microhousing

Mar 14, 2013
apodment
Flickr Photo/Jseattle/Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

As the cost of living continues to rise in the city, people are finding it harder to find an affordable place to live. To accommodate the demand, developers are building microhousing -- tiny studio apartments with private bathrooms that share a kitchen with other units. The microhouses boast affordable living in high-demand neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill and the University District. However, residents in some neighborhoods fear the developments skirt zoning laws and create too much density too fast. City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is considering legislation that could put new restrictions on microhousing. He joins us to explain.

The King County Housing Authority has stopped issuing new Section 8 vouchers. The program is federally subsidized through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The move is a result of the impending reduction in those funds due to sequestration.

Seattle Housing Authority

Watch out for scammers. That’s Seattle Housing Authority’s warning to people who are going online this week to apply for the city’s Section 8 housing lottery.  Agency officials caution that some misleading sites have been set up to  trick people into submitting their personal information to the wrong place.

Your Housing Questions Answered

Jan 31, 2013
For sale sign
Flickr photo/Ian Muttoo

The housing market is showing signs of recovery and construction has started once again on developments delayed by the recession. That doesn’t mean everyone is in good shape. Many homeowners remain underwater, with home values nowhere near the purchase price. Then there are the questions about refinancing or buying something new. Real estate and housing experts Richard Hagar and Linda Taylor are here to help. Call 206.543.5869 with your questions or send us an email at weekday@kuow.org.

Ed Yourdon / Flickr

In the pre-dawn hours this Friday, hundreds of volunteers will fan out across King County to look for people sleeping in alleys, parks, shopping centers and city busses. The effort  is part of the county’s annual One Night Count, which aims to get an annual head-count of people who are homeless.

Courtesy Seattle Housing Authority

The Seattle Housing Authority is preparing to redevelop Yesler Terrace, a 30-acre site that houses 1,200 low-income residents near the city’s downtown. Vulcan Real Estate is one of two private companies competing to become the lead development partner. The Seattle Housing Authority Board is scheduled to choose the winning bidder today.

From Profanity Hill To Yesler Terrace

Jan 13, 2013
Demolition in 1940
Courtesy MOHAI

Rumor has it that somewhere in a forgotten corner of a basement somewhere in Seattle there's a decaying 3-D model of a brand new Yesler Terrace. It was dreamed up in the late 1960s but, like the R H Thomson Expressway or the parking lot that was planned for where the Pike Place Market still stands, it never made it out of the world of imagination and onto the grid of the real world.

In 2013, after six years of planning, it appears another vision of a brand new development will take root where Yesler Terrace now stands. It's not the first transformation this patch of ground has seen though. This is the story of two places that occupy that ground -- one in the present and one in the past.

Amy Radil

The holidays often bring extra presents and messages from loved ones. But to receive those messages, you have to have an address.

Anyone who needs a mailing address can have the mail sent to 77 South Washington St. in Seattle's Pioneer Square. That’s the post office run by the Compass Housing Alliance. Most of the 3,500 people in Seattle who use that address are homeless or in temporary housing.

King County Department of Assessments

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata announced Wednesday the city will spend $19.5 million for construction and renovation of 570 new low-income housing units. It's part of an effort to ease the trend of low-income families moving out of the city.

A new state law will go into effect January 1st requiring households in Washington to be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Who actually needs to buy one? If you need one, where can you get it? Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle Fire Department’s education specialist Dana Catts.

The Radical Roots Of Yesler Terrace

Nov 16, 2012

Yesler Terrace is Seattle's oldest public housing project. It was revolutionary when it was completed in 1940. In the near future, though, it will be completely demolished.

In its place will sprout a series of high rise towers with a limited number of low-income housing units alongside up to 4,000 market-rate private housing units, offices, retail and commercial spaces. The ultimate goal, says the Seattle Housing Authority, is to create a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood.

It's a radical plan, controversial, and every bit as transformational as that which gave rise to Yesler Terrace in 1940.

The Seattle City Council recently passed a new law requiring property inspections on tenant properties.  How will the new law affect you? 

Evan Loeffler is a real estate attorney whose practice emphasizes landlord-tenant relations. He explains the new law and answers your questions about tenants’ rights, landlords’ rights, and how to handle disputes.

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