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housing

One of President Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to undo one of President Barack Obama’s last acts as president. Obama had moved to cut rates for people who take out mortgage insurance from the Federal Housing Administration, primarily first-time home buyers and people with poor credit.

Violet and Norward Brooks in front of a house they struggled to buy due to discrimination.
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

The results of the recent presidential election have revealed stark divisions in this country.

This is especially clear in Seattle, where we’re notorious for being one of the most progressive cities in the country.


Under a new city plan, apartment buildings could be as high as the UW Tower (tallest building pictured). They are currently capped at 65 feet.
Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8cYwTm

Seattle lawmakers are getting closer to implementing their solution to the city’s housing problems. They call the plan HALA, or the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

As part of HALA, lawmakers will rezone most of Seattle to make a more a taller, denser city. The City Council will rezone the University District first and has already drafted new zoning rules for the neighborhood.

Developments are popping up all over Marysville.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Marysville is the fastest growing big city in Western Washington.

In part that’s due to people leaving the Seattle housing market to find more affordable housing in a place a commutable distance away.


Seattle's Blue Ridge neighborhood was developed by William and Bertha Boeing through a federal loan guarantee that required homes be sold and occupied only by white people.
Courtesy of Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project

Seattle's neighborhoods and suburbs have long been segregated by race.

This month Seattle lawmakers will start taking steps to rezone the University District. In a sign that City Council members want to get it right the first time, they plan to amend their proposal even before they introduce it.

housingweb.jpg
Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Dave Tomson and his dog Dennis slept between cardboard walls under Interstate 5 in Seattle one night recently. Tomson is a block away from city hall – in fact you can see it from the corner.

He picked this spot so he could stay dry.

“It was raining and I’m not made out of sugar, but I don’t like to be cold and wet,” Tomson said. “Call me crazy.”

Tomson is homeless, like more than 4,000 other people in the city. He’s lived on the streets for five years after he went to jail and lost his job, he said.

A new report predicts that rent increases in the Seattle area should slow down next year. The report was produced by Apartment Insights, a company that surveys the rental market. It finds that vacancy rates are increasing and that rents are dropping in the fourth quarter of this year.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about current issues facing the city including being a sanctuary city for immigrants, tackling a West Coast homeless problem, ensuring affordable housing, preserving the culture in neighborhoods facing rapid gentrification  and bringing a new sports team (and arena) to the city. 

How densely packed should Seattle get?

Dec 14, 2016

Bill Radke speaks with Queen Anne Community Councilmember Martin Kaplan and housing advocate Laura Bernstein about the city's decision to put a hold on more backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments until an environmental impact study can be performed. They discuss density issues, affordable housing and the changing character of Seattle's single family neighborhoods. 

Teacher Briana Nelson would like to have a place of her own in the Central District.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s Central District was historically important to African Americans, until many were priced out.


A view of one of Cast Architecture's backyard cottages. The firm has been a leader promoting backyard cottages in Seattle
Courtesy of Cast Architecture

A housing plan to bring more backyard cottages to Seattle was halted Tuesday when the city's hearing examiner ruled that the proposal needs to undergo a full environmental review, not just approval through the city council.

City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks at her election night party at Melrose Market in Seattle on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

There are new limits on how much Seattle landlords can charge for move-in fees. The City Council unanimously approved the rules Monday after months of debate between tenant advocates and landlords.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The city of Seattle wants your feedback on a plan to channel more growth and affordable housing into the city’s most popular neighborhoods.

Rising rents are casting a pall over life for many people in the greater Seattle area.
Craigslist.org screenshot

The number the Census Bureau watches for is 30 percent of household income.

An NPR listener (with what may be the best Twitter handle ever — Booky McReaderpants) inquired whether a home can be powered by bicycle-powered generator.

It's an interesting issue about energy and the modern world. And the short answer comes from just running the numbers.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Jeannie Yandel talks to Xochitl Maykovich, an organizer with the Washington Community Action Network, and Brian Robinson, a Seattle landlord who's on the board of directors at the Rental Housing Association, about the pros and cons of the Seattle City Council legislation that would put a cap on move-in fees. 

Seattle police approach man on the street, part of the group show, We are still here, at Gallery4Culture.
Delino Olebar, courtesy Creative Justice Project

Gentrification and housing affordability are hot topics in Seattle right now.

They affect everyone, but typically politicians or media-savvy types dominate the public debate.

Home prices in the Seattle and Portland metro areas are rising faster than anywhere else in the country right now -- about twice as fast as the national average.

Seattle's Mayor and City Council approve their own agenda for the state Legislature every year. For the 2017 legislative session, the city is calling for more protections for tenants and for people of color.


Seattle renters could get a break on rental costs as soon as mid-January. A City Council committee advanced a measure Tuesday that would cap move-in fees.

Eric Jordan and Lisa Hooper are trying to make their camp Rainier Avenue S more tidy and clean. But they feel constrained by the state, which won't let them bring in garbage cans or porta-potties and regularly promises to evict them.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle and other west coast cities are bucking the national homeless trend — and not for the better.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the numbers from its annual point-in-time count Thursday. The number of homeless people in the U.S. is down 14 percent compared to the year 2010.

Thanks to improved health care, the Native American populations around the country are growing. But the number of homes hasn't kept up. That's especially true of the Northern Arapaho on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation.

Northern Arapaho elder Kenneth Shakespeare raised seven children in a house with views of mountains and hayfields surrounding it. But now he has dementia and it's his kids turn to take care of him in the same four-bedroom, two-bath house they grew up in.

'Week in Review' panelists Bill Radke, Knute Berger, Joni Balter and Eli Sanders.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

It is the last Week In Review before election day. We’ll be talking about the tightening polls and what local races to watch for on election night.

Also Vancouver has been dealing with an affordable housing crisis. They decided to put a tax on foreign buyers as a way to cool the housing market, and it’s working. But where will those buyers go? And should Seattle consider something similar?

The old Liberty Bank building in Seattle's Central Area before it was demolished. Affordable housing will go up in its place.
Google Maps

There's a new building going up in the heart of Seattle's Central District.

It's a project that could help bring back renters who've been priced out of the neighborhood.


Michelle Dozier, Toya Thomas and Elimika James face eviction from the Renton Woods apartments. Residents of cities in South King County do not enjoy the same tenant protections that exist in many other parts of King County.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

In Seattle, it’s against the law for a landlord to reject a tenant based on the source of their income. But those kind of protections don’t extend to many cities in South King County, cities like Kent, SeaTac and Renton.

Here are three women trying to change that.


Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton about a tax Vancouver, B.C. imposed on foreign real estate buyers and its impact on Seattle's housing market. 

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the U.S. government set out to evaluate the riskiness of mortgages — and left behind a stunning portrait of the racism and discrimination that has shaped American housing policy.

Now a new digital tool makes it easier than ever to see that history in high-resolution.

With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?

Kevin Boggs in his tent in the Jungle. He moved into the Jungle on Dec. 1 last winter after moving down from Lake City where his tent had been repeatedly ransacked.
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Kevin Boggs is trying to find a way out of the Jungle, the large homeless camp under Interstate 5 in Seattle. But it's not that easy. Listen to some of his story to hear what he's doing in his search for stable housing. 

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