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housing

Vancouver Struggles With Affordable Housing

May 27, 2015

Kim Malcolm speaks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about affordable housing issues in Vancouver and one solution proposed by Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Rainier Vista townhomes near Martin Luther King Jr Way S.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde speaks with Erica C. Barnett about the pros and cons of a new idea for Seattle: neighborhood conservation districts.

Robert Darden, left, and Anthony Fox moved to Seattle from Nashville. They say they are adamant about living within Seattle city limits, although escalating rents have made that increasingly tough.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

About half the renters in the Seattle region pay too much for their place.

Too much means they’re spending more than a third of their household income before taxes. SeaTac and Rainer Valley neighborhoods are particularly rough on renters, although this trend affects the entire city, regardless of median income. (Check your neighborhood in the interactive graphic below.)

Studhorse is the name of this Methow Valley home in Central Washington state. Here, compact living pavilions surround outdoor living spaces.
Courtesy Benjamin Benschneider/Olson Kundig Architects / Olson Kundig Architects

Marcie Sillman speaks with Tom Kundig, owner and principal of Olson Kundig Architects, about how the landscape and culture of the Northwest influenced his newest award-winning building, and how Northwest architecture reflects our changing culture.

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

Ross Reynolds speaks with Rachel Garshick Kleit, affiliate professor of public affairs at the University of Washington, about the Seattle Housing Authority's stated commitment to one-for-one replacement of all affordable housing units lost to revitalization.

housing apartment
Flickr Photo/Andrew Smith (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Stephen O'Connor, the director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, about a new report that finds Washington state's housing market is doing well but affordability is still a problem in the Puget Sound area. 

File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Sahra Muhumed, who made it onto the wait list for King County Housing Authority's Section 8 Program. When the wait list opened earlier this year 22,5000 people applied for only 2,500 spots. Sahra made the cut but she'll have to wait for years before she gets assistance. 

William Shatner.
Flickr Photo/Brian Wilkins (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Why is William Shatner coming for our water? Does Seattle need rent control? Can a new policing plan tackle drug dealing downtown? Is tipping on the way out?

David Hyde sits in for Bill Radke to review the week’s news along with Crosscut’s Knute Berger, 'The C is For Crank' blogger Erica C. Barnett and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

KUOW / John Ryan photo

Hundreds of people crowded into Seattle City Hall Thursday night to air their concerns about the city's rising cost of housing.

Many have wondered what Kshama Sawant's next fight will be, now that Seattle has a $15 minimum wage (to be phased in over several years). At City Hall on Thursday night, she'll make the case for legalizing rent control.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle’s rents are rising fast – San Francisco, San Jose and Denver are the only cities outpacing us, according to real estate research firm Reis.

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant says there's a way to stop that trend.

“Everywhere I go, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, I hear people talking about the skyrocketing rent," Sawant said. "And when I ask them, 'What do you think we should do about it,' invariably they tell me: ‘We need some sort of rent control.’” 

The Summit Inn on Seattle's Capitol Hill still hums with artists, even after losing many tenants in the wake of the building's sale last December. The remaining tenants expect to be kicked out this fall for renovations.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

On the top floor of the Summit Inn, a run-down building on Capitol Hill where artists live, Philomel Swango, 64, shows off bolts of colorful cloth and talks about the costumes she sews for a living.

"I just did a pirate wedding," she says. "I made the bride’s dress. I made it look like she mugged Marie Antoinette."

Here on Capitol Hill, Vicki Lopez says you always have to arrive 30 minutes before a dinner party starts to allow time for parking. Her friend, Koll Carlsteen, half-jokingly suggests the shortage of parking is a racket - designed to earn the city more mon
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

About 12 percent of the apartments built in Seattle since 2012 have been built without parking. They’re being built in neighborhoods like Ballard, Capitol Hill and the University District, where there’s heavy competition for parking and where special zoning allows them.

File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Stephen O'Connor, the director of University of Washington's real estate center, about Bellevue's new ordinance and the future of affordable housing in this growing suburb.

Why Does Seattle Have So Few Kids?

Apr 7, 2015

Marcie Sillman speaks with journalist Alan Greenblatt about the lack of children in Seattle. Greenblatt recently wrote about the issue for Governing Magazine.

Less than three months after the U.S. announced it will ease travel to Cuba, home rental site Airbnb is listing properties in the island nation. The average price for a room or home in Havana is currently $43. The company says it's starting out with more than 1,000 listings.

A look at the offerings Thursday morning found everything from "beautiful colonial rooms for rent in the heart of Havana" for $27 a night to a "a holiday sanctuary" chalet on the outskirts of Havana that can accommodate 10 guests for $1,000. It includes a pool.

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

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about his plan for affordable housing in Seattle.

Marcie Sillman talks with The Atlantic magazin's senior editor Derek Thompson about his article, "The Miracle of Minneapolis."

Mayor Ed Murray has released new proposals to combat homelessness in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Romi Chiorean (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about the issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Seattle.

Sahra Farah and volunteers at the Somali Community Center hope development around Rainier Beach station will bring jobs to the neighborhood, where she says young people struggle to find employment.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Puget Sound region hopes new growth will spring up in urban villages clustered around mass transit. The goal is to avoid further congestion.

Yet in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, where light rail has been running for over five years, development has been slow to come. 

Back in 2012, something unusual got started in an alleyway in an already tightly developed part of northeast Washington, D.C.

On an 11th-of-an-acre lot next to a cemetery, behind a block of row houses, tiny houses started to go up. And not just one little house in backyard, like you might see in many places. The builders billed this as an urban tiny house community.

Ordinance Limits Rent On Seattle Micro-Housing Units

Feb 24, 2015
Sara Bernard / KUOW

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on Monday that would limit the rent on some micro-housing units. These “efficiency” apartments are smaller than traditional studios.

This is an adjustment to a program that gives developers a tax break for offering some units to low-income renters. But some developers say this is going too far.

File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to news analyst Joni Balter about the progress the Housing Affordability and Livability Committee has made since it was formed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in September.

Ross Reynolds talks with Stephen Norman, executive director of King County Housing Authority, about the affordable housing crisis in King County.

File photo. apartment housing apt door
Flickr Photo/Matthew Piatt (CC-BY-NC-ND)

If you are looking for more evidence of a housing crisis in King County, here it is.

Officials at the King County Housing Authority report a flood of people applying for federal housing assistance.

On Wednesday, after a four year hiatus, the authority once again began accepting applications for the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program, more commonly called Section 8.

Zillow And 'The New Rules Of Real Estate'

Jan 29, 2015

In the latest installment of our new series of conversation with leaders, called View From The Top, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries.

Crowds of homeless people often gather on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle near social-service providers.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The ranks of the homeless continue to swell in King County. An overnight count found 3,772 people living on the streets — a 21 percent increase since last January.

Hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the county in the wee hours of Friday morning to take count of the region's rising homeless population.

Flickr Photo/PJMixer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with real estate appraiser Richard Hagar about how the influx of people to Seattle has caused housing prices region-wide to skyrocket, even in rural areas.

Rising Rents In 2014 Led By Small Cities

Jan 6, 2015

Average rents increased across the country by 3.6 percent in 2014, according to new data from the real estate research firm Reis, Inc. The average monthly lease rate is now $1,124.38, the highest number since Reis started collecting data in 1980.

It’s the fifth year in a row that rents have been on the rise, but this year rent increases affected residents in smaller and midsize cities, and not just the largest cities in the U.S.

Across the Northwest, some families will spend Christmas in rented mobile homes where the living conditions are marginal at best and dangerous at worst.

Larry Jametsky and Christina Stewart back at home in SeaTac, Wash., Dec. 2014
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Larry Jametsky lost his home in SeaTac through a “foreclosure rescue” scam. He and his family were homeless for years while his case made its way through the courts.

But last February, the Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously that his case should be reexamined. Two months later, Jametsky got his house back.

In 2008, Jametsky signed what he thought was a loan, but he’d actually sold his house for a fraction of its value. What he thought were loan payments were in fact rent payments.

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