housing | KUOW News and Information


Forterra/Florangela Davila

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Gene Duvernoy, president and CEO of Forterra, and Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza, about why their organizations are teaming up to create affordable housing and what building apartments has to do with saving the environment.

For the first time in more than 130 years, Americans ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

The boxy-style house on the left has been finished since this photo was taken in the summer of 2015. The house sold for $1,145,000, according to county records. Greenwood
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The number of million-dollar homes in the Seattle area has tripled over the past four years, according to a Seattle Times analysis of data from the real estate website Trulia.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about how and why we've seen such a steep increase in the worth of single-family homes and whether Seattle is becoming the next San Francisco.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Kim Malcolm speaks with Xochitl Maykovich, an organizer with the Washington Community Action Network, about a Seattle City Council proposal that would make it illegal for landlords to raise rents in buildings that don't meet basic maintenance standards.  

Malcolm also speaks with Roger Valdez, executive director of Smart Growth Seattle.

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/s/aHsju5PWuH

You won't find many backyard cottages or mother-in-law units in Seattle. City officials say about 220 have been built since city officials started allowing them in 2009.

City Councilmember Mike O'Brien wants to change that to meet the growing demand for housing.

Housing in the Yesler Terrace area.
KUOW Photo/Dominic Black

Bill Radke speaks with Emily Parkhurst, managing editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal, about why developers like Paul Allen's Vulcan Real Estate are interested in developing Yesler Terrace, Seattle's oldest housing project, and how the Seattle Housing Authority is working to ensure current low-income tenants aren't displaced. The Puget Sound Business Journal recently featured the development.

Tiny homes, which can be as little as 50 to 300 square feet, are growing in popularity as a solution for the homeless. In Chicago, advocates want to build tiny houses to serve a specific marginalized group — homeless youth, especially those who identify as LGBTQ.

Thornton Place Apartments in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood has 56 apartments (out of 278) set aside for low wage earners. In exchange for keeping rents for those units low for 12 years, the developer got a tax break.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This summer, Seattle voters will be asked to make property in the city a little less affordable to make housing for the poorest Seattleites more affordable.

On Monday, Seattle City Council unanimously approved putting a housing levy on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.

The lobby at Exeter House, which was built as a luxury, live-in hotel in the 1920s.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Exeter House in downtown Seattle was built as an apartment hotel for elegant living in the 1920s. It was part of a construction boom downtown at the time.

Would you agree to pay more taxes every year to keep low-income people in their homes? That's one goal of Seattle's proposed housing levy.

The public can weigh in at a hearing Monday in City Hall at 5:30 p.m.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is making it easier for people with criminal records to find housing.

In new guidance, released Monday, HUD tells landlords and home sellers that turning down tenants or buyers based on their criminal records may violate the Fair Housing Act.

People with criminal records aren't a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, and the guidance from HUD's general counsel says that in some cases, turning down an individual tenant because of his or her record can be legally justified.

LaToya Fowlkes is standing outside rent court in Baltimore. A judge has just ruled that Fowlkes has to pay her landlord $4,900 in rent and fees despite her complaints that the house has leaky water pipes, chipped paint, rodents and a huge hole in the living room wall.

But Fowlkes didn't notify her landlord of the problems by certified mail — something the judge said she should have done to avoid eviction.

Terrell Walker lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Southeast Washington, D.C., with her 9-year-old and 2-year-old daughters.

Walker stopped paying her rent last September because, she says, her apartment is in horrible condition — and she is fighting her landlord's eviction threat in court.

But when tenants don't pay, landlords say they have less money to fix things up.

Every morning for weeks, Meagen Limes made the same phone call: to a court in Washington, D.C., to see if that day was the day she'd be evicted from her home.

Limes faced eviction because she couldn't pay rent on her three-bedroom apartment in Southeast Washington, where many of the city's poorest residents live.

It can sometimes take weeks before the marshals actually show up at your door, and Limes fully expected to be homeless any day.

Former Attorney General Rob McKenna, left, writer & activist Eric Liu, host Bill Radke and state Rep. Noel Frame.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Chelsea Clinton says her mom Hillary would not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Is that what a president should be? 

A classic Craftsman in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century when architecture was in its heyday.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Look around almost any Seattle neighborhood and you’ll see them: Modest one-story homes, with large, covered porches and eaves that shield wooden siding from the rain.

They’re Craftsman-style bungalows, and you’ll find hundreds of them here, from Wallingford and Ravenna to Mount Baker and over the bridge in West Seattle.

Police and city staff arrived in the morning of Friday, March 11, 2016 to force out the remaining 16 residents atat the former Nickelsville camp on South Dearborn Street.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle police cleared out a homeless camp known as Nickelsville Friday. It’s been temporarily located on South Dearborn Street, near the freeway, since 2014.

Ronald Hawthorne was one of the first to see police arrive and alerted other campers.

“I told them look, the police are all here. There’s a lot of them and they say we only got 30 minutes to get out,” Hawthorne said.

Temporary is lasting a long time for evacuees in neat blocks of prefabricated housing in Fukushima city. The wood siding on their tiny homes looks new. But these trailers are stretching into their fifth year of use.

Saki Sato, 77, shows me around her home, where she lives alone in a kind of limbo. Each room is about the size of a king-size mattress.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

The Seattle City Council showed early signs of support Thursday for Mayor Ed Murray's housing levy. Murray has proposed a $290 million levy that's twice the size of the existing one.

The council will decide whether to put the measure on the August ballot. First, the council's looking at Seattle's housing needs.

Apartment housing: Colorful architecture next to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Sheila Sund (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/CNyuWi

Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland about how the city is dealing with rising rents. According to Axiometrics Inc., a company that tracks national rental markets, the rate of rent growth in Tacoma was higher than the rate of rent growth in Seattle in January 2016. 

One of the final items Oregon lawmakers approved before closing out their 2016 legislative session Thursday was a measure that would allow cities and counties to require developers to include low-income housing options in new developments.

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

Jeannie Yandel talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about the affordable housing levy and why he believes it is an important for voters to pass. For the last five years, Seattle voters have taxed homeowners to pay for affordable housing. Murray wants to effectively double the amount of money homeowners pay. 

Barbara Dobkin, council of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, stands with her dog Mattie on a hill in front of the Seattle city-owned land she'd like to see turned into a park.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s nearly impossible to find empty land in Seattle. But down at the far south end, there’s 40 acres with nothing on it. And it’s owned by the city of Seattle.

Locals would like to keep it wild. They think of it as “Discovery Park South.” But the city has other plans.

Oregon lawmakers are moving ahead with a measure that would lift the state's nearly two-decade-old ban on inclusionary zoning laws. The Oregon Senate voted Friday to allow cities and counties to require builders to set aside a portion of large developments for affordable units.

Steve Graham was No. 136 among people waiting Monday, February 22, 2016, for a chance to apply 110 low-income apartments.  'I'm keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed,' he said.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Steve Graham got in line late. His number was 136.

But he was optimistic about the chance of a lifetime: a shot at brand new, low-income housing in an increasingly unaffordable city.

“Number 8! Numero ocho!” came the call Monday night at El Centro de la Raza, a nonprofit in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Only 110 units are available.

'Week in Review' panel Jess Spear, Erica C. Barnett, Roger Valdez and KUOW's Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

How do you help someone in a way that’s actually helpful: Zero tolerance? Public housing? Tiny housing? A new smart phone app? Also, millennial voters: idealistic, deluded or both? Bill Radke debates the week’s news with Erica C. Barnett from The C Is For Crank, Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle and Jess Spear with the Socialist Alternative Party.  

Paramjit Kaur, owner of Fashion India Botique, is one of many entrepreneurs courted by Sam Virk to set up shop in his International Plaza development in Kent. Click on this image for more photos.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

At a new strip mall in downtown Kent, a truck backs up to a butcher shop. The driver opens the back and pulls out a goat carcass. This butcher shop doesn’t sell beef or pork, out of deference to its Hindu and Muslim customers.

Miranda Redinger, Shoreline city planner, at the Shoreline Center, a former high school that she says is likely to be redeveloped once the transit station gets running.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is a classic suburb facing a very urban challenge.

It is gaining a light rail station at 185th Street and I-5. And that new station is kicking off a vast redevelopment that will change the shape of the city. In all, 1,400 homes have been rezoned for a densified redevelopment that will change this part of the city into something that looks as though it were born in Seattle.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess about plans to regulate online short-term rentals in the city of Seattle.

Jeannie Yandel talks to Dona Ponepinto, president and CEO of United Way of Pierce County about a new study commissioned by United Way that found one in three Northwest households are living just above or below the poverty line.