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housing

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

Ross Reynolds speaks with Erica C. Barnett about leaked draft recommendations from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's Housing Affordability and Livability Committee. Some of the recommendations would require a dramatic rethinking of the way Seattleites see home.

Allison Dunmire, a stay-at-home mom in Kirkland, is having a tough time finding a house to buy -- even one they don't like all that much.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It’s tough to buy a house in Seattle at the moment.

The shortage of houses on the market has widened the gap between those who can plunk down far more than the asking price – often in cash – and those without such means.

Jennifer Nugent and her three kids are throwing a big, blue ball around in the small living room of their rental home.

The kids are happy, but Nugent isn't. She planned to raise them in a place with much more room to play.

And she was. That is, until she learned that home was uninhabitable.

Two years ago, she and her husband bought a country home in the small central Indiana town of Mooresville.

"It was blue and it had a lot of potential for us to add on," she says. "We really, really wanted that house."

Edith Macefield's Ballard home was surrounded by development .
flickr photo/Payton Chung (CC BY 2.0)

The story of Edith Macefield’s famous “UP!” House has taken another turn.

Paul Thomas, with Realty Brokers of Seattle, says the winners of an auction for the house this spring have backed out after it became apparent the building's age and condition would make it too expensive to fix. And that means the house will be donated and moved or demolished, and the land under it sold, Thomas said.

Bill Radke and Joni Balter prep for a live broadcast of Week In Review at the Northgate Community Center on Friday, June 26, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The city plans to make its neighborhoods denser AND keep them lovable. How? And: Is it wrong to expose a Seattle police ticket trap? How can our state government come unstuck? 

Bill Radke debates the week's news with former mayor Mike McGinn, former state GOP chair Chris Vance and Seattle Channel's Joni Balter.

Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods.
Courtesy of Seattle.gov

Marcie Sillman talks to Kathy Nyland, the new director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, about how she went from advocating for the Georgetown neighborhood to a job with the city. 

Ross Reynolds speaks with Tim Burgess, president of the Seattle City Council, about one piece of legislation which could help preserve existing affordable housing in the city.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Rents across Seattle have risen dramatically in the past 16 years, according to a KUOW analysis of housing data.

Since 1998, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment has risen 38 percent, measured in 2014 dollars. That’s pushed the average cost to $1,412 per month. 

A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds that rent is not affordable for a growing number of Americans.

Linda Couch, senior vice president for policy at the coalition, joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain what people in a variety of places across the U.S. have to earn in order to pay for an affordable apartment.

Hawaii, not surprisingly, is the most expensive place to rent. In Atlanta, renters need to make almost $16 per hour to afford a two-bedroom.

Mack has lived on a houseboat in Seattle's Portage Bay since 1968.
KUOW Photo / Aubrey Gelpieryn

Around Mack's home, tulips are blooming and seagulls are flying. People kayak past his window.

Mack lives on a houseboat. Now 83, he has been floating on Seattle's Portage Bay since the Beatles released "Yellow Submarine."

The revamped entrance to The Parker Apartments on Queen Anne Hill.
Bellwether Housing

Money is a big problem for nonprofits trying to build affordable housing. It’s expensive to redevelop old buildings or build new ones.

There are tax credits and grants, and in Seattle there’s money from the city housing levy.

But one group is tapping a new source: private investors, who get a return on the money they put into affordable 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. 

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