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housing

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.

A homeless camp beneath an Interstate 5 off-ramp in Seattle's SODO district.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Kim Malcom talks to Daniel Malone, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, about why Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's emergency plan on homelessness doesn't go far enough.

KUOW and KPLU are likely to become one. Pacific Lutheran University has announced the intent to sell.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Being asked to pay extra for transit or schools is a regular event for Seattle voters. In Tuesday's election, they backed the $930 million Move Seattle levy.

So it’s a logical question: Are Seattle taxpayers carrying a heavier tax burden than people in other major U.S. cities?

Ross Reynolds speaks with Dave Meinert, owner of the Comet and several other businesses. He is a supporter of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's push for commercial rent stabilization. We also hear from Evan Loeffler, landlord attorney with Loeffler Law Group. 

A blighted house on Northeast 65th in Seattle in the Roosevelt neighborhood.
Flicrk Photo/Steve Mohundro (CC BY NC SA)/http://bit.ly/1ZRXDyb

Kim Malcolm speaks with Seattle City Council member Nick Licata about why he co-sponsored a measure to protect renters from slumlords. 

Seattle's District 4 Candidates Are Becoming BFFs

Oct 14, 2015
Seattle City Council District 4 candidates Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Outside the radio booth, Seattle City Council candidates Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson look like they could be brothers.

Easy smiles. Blue tops. Johnson rides the bus; Maddux rides his bike. They joke that that their main difference is crew necks versus V-necks.

A massive multi-family apartment building with commercial retail spaces underneath. A train enters the photo in the foreground at the left of the frame.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Ross Reynolds talks to King County Executive Dow Constantine about his new initiative to develop 700 units of affordable housing around transit centers. 

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

When it comes to creating affordable housing, Seattle voters can thank themselves.

Most rent-controlled units built in the last 30 years have relied on a property tax, Seattle's affordable housing levy, first approved by Seattleites in the early 1980s. That's when federal money for affordable housing was cut dramatically under President Ronald Reagan.

Cousins Tiara Jinka and Tiana Jordan can't afford to live in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s a tall order: Get skeptical private developers to help build 20,000 units of affordable housing in Seattle in the next 10 years.

Some of them say Mayor Ed Murray’s “grand bargain” doesn’t pencil out, at least as currently envisioned in the city’s new housing plan.

Veteran Housing Vouchers Scorned by Landlords

Sep 4, 2015

The building manager's office was closed, but Veronica Schenkelberg and Adrian Carrillo decided to wait.

All day, they'd been hitting buzzers and knocking on doors, looking for an apartment for Carrillo, and this building showed promise--it had an apartment available, and from what Carrillo could gather online, it took Section 8 housing vouchers.

After 35 minutes, Cindy Morrison arrived to unlock the door and deliver the same statement the two had been hearing all day:  The building doesn't take federal rent assistance vouchers.

The Undre Arms apartments: great or terrible name?
Flickr Photo/Paul Sableman (CC BY 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Cal McAllister, founder of Wexley School for Girls advertising agency, about what makes a great, or terrible, apartment name. 

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

David Hyde talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about the mandatory inclusionary housing recommendation in the proposal from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee.  

Portland Is Getting Expensive, Too

Aug 11, 2015

Todd Mundt speaks with Sarah Mirk, online editor of Bitch Media, about the recent upward creep in Portland Oregon's housing prices.

Tiny House Living Is More Than A Novelty

Aug 3, 2015
At Quixote Village in Olympia, previously homeless adults live in tiny (144 sq. foot interior) cottages.
KUOW Photo

With a growing population and the cost of living on the rise, RadioActive reporters Julia Furukawa and Jack  Paradise take a look into the world of tiny houses as a possible solution in today's podcast. Interviews with builders, owners and those that have benefited from the construction of tiny homes may have you thinking small.

Thanks to Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Quixote Village.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for youth age 16-20ish. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

For the last stop on our summer tour, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray stopped by to say why he relented on a controversial affordable housing proposal. Plus, a new Tim Eyman initiative qualifies for the ballot, Russell Wilson stays a Seahawk and Bill Radke answers the question: "Should I be using less water?"

Featuring Radke,  The Stranger's Eli Sanders, former state attorney general Rob McKenna, Northwest News Network's Phyllis Fletcher, Seattle Times sportswriter Percy Allen and a happy crowd at The Vera Project at Seattle Center.

Single-family homes such as this one in Greenwood could be rezoned to become a multi-family dwelling should draft proposals by Seattle's affordable housing task force come to fruition.
Courtesy of Hana Sevcikova

Mayor Ed Murray’s decision to step back from proposal to increase density in Seattle’s single-family neighborhoods is a disappointment, says a woman who played a big role in developing the plan.

Faith Pettis, co-chair of Murray's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee, told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds that some people misunderstood that part of a much larger plan.

Car camper Jennifer Smith prepares for her move to a woman's shelter. She's one of several homeless men and women who were asked to leave the area near Gasworks Park.  Her RV will be parked safely in a church parking lot in Lake City.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Danny Fletcher lives in a motor home on North Northlake Way near Gas Works Park. He says he feels safer in that than he does sleeping in a shelter.

“It’s more comfy, I have a bedroom, I’ve got a kitchen, I have a living room, and it’s all separate rooms," Fletcher said. "It’s an actual house for me, you know?”

But neighbors have been complaining about campers like this.

Bill Radke, Deb Wang, Chris Vance and Luke Burbank  at the Leif Erikson Lodge as part of the 'Week in Review' summer tour.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

KUOW's Week in Review was at Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard in front of a live audience as part of the show's summer tour. On the docket: what's the solution for affordable housing? Also, should we save a little viaduct to preserve that view? Is there a fairer way to enforce the outdoor pot smoking ban? And a week after the New Yorker earthquake piece, are you still shaking?

Bill Radke convenes a panel of Live Wire radio's Luke Burbank, KUOW's Deborah Wang, former state GOP head Chris Vance and special guests.

The crowd warms up before a live broadcast Friday of KUOW's Week in Review at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Ballard residents and locals from surrounding areas (and two from Clinton, Whidbey Island) crowded into the Leif Erikson Lodge in the heart of the neighborhood for KUOW's Week in Review summer tour stop. 

Based on their reaction to the panel's discussion, most share concerns of the new normal in Ballard: development, and the aches that come with it, like transportation, parking and housing affordability. 

We grabbed three from the audience to help us understand a little more about the flavor and trials of the historically "Norswegian" part of Seattle. 

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

Bill Radke talks with Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata and Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle about whether or not it is time for the city to intervene in rent prices, which have climbed faster here than anywhere in the country.

This small house with a family with five kids was saved by defensible space at the Chelan Butte Fire in 2011. The property had green grass all the way around. The owner is a former Forest Service employee who knows what it means to live in fire country.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY NC ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews Roger Faris about how to protect your home from wildfire, whether you live near a forest, in the suburbs or in the city. Faris has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in disaster areas from Alaska to Florida, including Eastern Washington during last year’s severe wildfire season,  to figure out what can be done to reduce damage from disaster.

KUOW's Bill Radke discusses the week's news with Bill Finkbeiner, Erica C. Barnett and Knute Berger in front of a live audience at University Heights as part of the of the 'Week in Review' summer tour.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

After reading this week's New Yorker article about The Really Big One, what scares you most about Seattle? Should your city snoop into your trash bin? And why should Seattle accept so much growth? Also: Bertha has a new restart date.

Bill Radke ponders the week’s news with journalists Erica C. Barnett and Knute Berger and former Republican State Senate Majority Leader Bill Finkbeiner.

Housing: Condos along Seattle's downtown waterfront.
Flickr Photo/Ryan Lackey (CC BY 2.0)

Adding or preserving 20,000 affordable housing units in Seattle sounds great for renters on paper.

But Sharon Lee, executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute, told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds there are some holes in Mayor Ed Murray's plan for housing over the next 10 years.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds speaks with Richard Hagar, a local real estate investor and pundit, to get one view of what Mayor Ed Murray's new affordable housing proposals would mean for Seattle renters. 

Mayor Ed Murray speaks at an announcement of the city's proposals to build more affordable housing.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a package of proposals Monday aimed at dramatically increasing the supply of affordable housing in a city that would be taller and denser.

The goal is to build 20,000 more affordable housing units over the next decade. 

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

Ross Reynolds talks with Faith Li Pettis, co-chair of Seattle's Housing Affordability and Livability Committee, about new recommendations for solving the city's affordable housing crisis.

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

Bill Radke talks with KUOW reporter Deborah Wang about a plan to solve Seattle's housing problems. A task force appointed by Seattle mayor Ed Murray releases its recommendations on Monday.

home, house, housing: An aerial shot of the Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle, 1969.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A draft city report pokes at Seattle’s single-family character. Also: Why don’t we rope off the dangerous Big Four Ice Caves in the Cascades? Would a Seattle gun tax infringe on your right to bear arms? And in a super-dry Seattle summer, should you be conserving water, or not?

Bill Radke debates the week’s news with Crosscut's Knute Berger, journalist Tonya Mosley and former state GOP chair Chris Vance.

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