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housing

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. 

Where Brunch And Housing Segregation Collide

Jan 14, 2016

There's been a lot of conversation lately about people of color dealing with "only one in the room" syndrome in the workplace. But in 2016, it's still remarkably easy to be the only person of color in any given social situation. My Code Switch teammate Gene Demby and I were talking about this yesterday.

A Powerball sign can't accommodate a figure larger than $999 million.
Flickr photo/Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr

Everybody’s dreaming about how they could spend all that money when they win that $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot – the biggest lottery prize ever in the U.S.

You might be thinking car, house, travel. But what if the city of Seattle won?

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

Bill Radke speaks with Columbia Legal Services attorney Merf Ehman and Evan Loeffler, a lawyer who focuses on landlord tenant relations, about a proposal before the Seattle City Council that would change how landlords are allowed to screen tenants. 

Lisa Herbold at the former Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle’s Gatewood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Bill Radke talks to new Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who represents West Seattle and South Park, about her top three priorities for Seattle. 

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

Bill Radke talks to KUOW's Joshua McNichols about the case the city of Seattle is making for more backyard cottages.  

Mario, an 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea, outside his host home in Burien. Mario and his siblings each picked out a bike of their own, thanks to a donation to World Relief.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A pot of lentils simmers in the kitchen of an upscale home in Burien. Two teen brothers and their two younger sisters keep watch.

They’re Eritrean refugees, part of a family of nine staying with Carleen Kennedy. Kennedy has opened her home to refugees since 1975.

If you pull into Hertford County High School in northeastern North Carolina, pass the bus circle and the soccer fields, and continue to a patch of woods, you find three, cheerful, two-story apartment buildings. Knock on any door here and you'll find the home of a teacher or employee of the local school district.

Wouldn't it be nice to get a check from your electric utility instead of a bill? That's exactly what happens for a select few homeowners in the Pacific Northwest whose solar-powered houses generate more electricity than they use over the course of the year.

Nearly 1.2 million public housing units would need to become "entirely smoke-free" under a new rule put forth Thursday by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

The proposed rule would give more than 3,100 public housing agencies 18 months to ban cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all living units, indoor common areas and within 25 feet of buildings. The ban would also apply to administrative offices.

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