Housing

SounderBruce / Flickr

The fast ferry between Bremerton and Seattle has been up and running since July. It cuts travel time between the two in half. The quicker commute could entice some Seattle residents to head west with hopes of finding more affordable housing.

But is that really the case? 88.5’s Kirsten Kendrick spoke with Kitsap Sun business reporter Tad Sooter to find out.


Elaine Thompson / AP

Like communities across the Puget Sound region, Bellingham and Whatcom County are struggling to deal with homelessness and housing affordability.

Bellingham city officials are hoping to address some of those issues in a June 13 town hall meeting. Residents have until Wednesday to submit questions beforehand about housing and homelessness.

"I think the main thing we're looking for is to open up the line of communication on one of the most pressing issues," said council president Michael Lilliquist.

Will James / KNKX

The city of Seattle is facing a lawsuit from a group of landlords challenging one of the city’s most recent protections for tenants. 

Leaders of the Rental Housing Association of Washington say the City Council violated the state constitution's ban on rent control when it capped the amount of money landlords can charge for a security deposit and other move-in fees.

Lawyers representing the association filed the lawsuit Tuesday in King County Superior Court. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the federal government isn't going to step in and help solve the city's homelessness crisis.

November's election, he said, made it clear that Seattle is on its own.

That's why he's asking city voters to approve $275 million in new property taxes over five years to invest in homelessness programs. He made what amounted to an opening pitch for the tax levy at a news conference Wednesday.

A severe lack of housing on the nation's reservations means many Native Americans are forced to find rentals in nearby communities. That's the case for the Wind River Reservation in central Wyoming. But tribal members there still struggle to find places to live because of what they say is racial discrimination.

Ever since last summer, Ken Hebah has been unable to find a place to live. The Eastern Shoshone Tribe member says he doesn't need much.

"Well, like a, maybe a one bedroom just for me," Hebah says.

Paula Wissel / KNKX File Photo

Washington state will soon have the ability to tap federal Medicaid dollars to help chronically homeless people stay in apartments. 

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave state officials special permission  Jan. 9 to use Medicaid funds for certain aspects of a strategy called "permanent supportive housing."

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

Seattle tenants are seeing some of the steepest rent hikes in the nation. But they also have some strong laws working in their favor, protecting them from discrimination, excessive fees, and unsafe living conditions.

Be:Seattle, the group organizing a series of "Tenant Rights Bootcamps" this winter, hopes to educate tenants about their legal rights amidst anxiety over the city's tightening housing market.

Derek McNeill

Filmmaker Derek McNeill started with a question: What circumstances lead people to the roving Seattle homeless camp known as Nickelsville?

In mid-2015, he started looking for an answer.

McNeill took his camera to a Nickelsville community on Dearborn Street, where residents opened up about their lives before and after they entered the cluster of tiny houses and tents near I-5. People like a soft-spoken former engineer defied easy stereotypes of Seattle's homeless.

Will James / KNKX

Residents of a SeaTac mobile home park marched through the city Friday to protest their community's pending closure.

The owner of the Firs Mobile Home Park is planning a motel project and has given residents until October 31, 2017, to move out, according to a notice at the park's entrance.

About two dozen residents and activists walked to a hotel three miles away that's owned by their landlord, Jong S. Park. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

COURTESY OF THE NEW HOPE RESOURCE CENTER

Puyallup officials say they're cooperating with an investigation into proposed city regulations targeting the city's only resource center for the homeless.

U.S. Justice Department officials informed Puyallup leaders of the investigation in a Dec. 6 letter. The Tacoma News-Tribune first reported the investigation Thursday.

"jo0966.JPG" by Mark Goebel is licensed under CC by 2.0

An obscure $48 fee Washington residents pay for filing real-estate paperwork is one of the most important weapons in the state's fight against homelessness, housing advocates say.

They're preparing to fight for the fee's future during next year's legislative session in Olympia, as an approaching "sunset" provision threatens to shrink the fee to $18.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

King County's annual One Night Count of the Homeless is a massive undertaking that can send more than a thousand volunteers fanning out through Seattle and its suburbs.

For the first time in 37 years, the task of organizing it falls on a new group, and leaders say they plan to try new strategies aimed at reaching more people.

All Home, which oversees federal housing funds in King County, is taking over management of the census, scheduled for January 27.

"Seattle" by Chris Yunker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Housing advocates say up-front costs of renting a new apartment, like security deposits and non-refundable fees, are a major barrier to finding a home in Seattle.

More than 60 Renton families who rely on rental assistance are getting a reprieve weeks after landlords told them they would have to vacate their apartments.

Tenants of the Renton Woods and Grammercy complexes have faced displacement since the summer, when landlords said they would no longer accept Section 8 vouchers, according to advocates with the Tenants Union of Washington State.

Courtesy of the New Hope Resource Center

Operators of Puyallup's only drop-in center serving homeless people say proposed security regulations could force them to shut down, following months of tension with neighbors.

Some residents say homeless people seeking help at the New Hope Resource Center have brought drugs and crime to downtown Puyallup. 

In September, city officials proposed a list of security requirements they may impose as a condition of the center's 2017 license. 

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

Seattle leaders unveiled a package of reports Sept. 8 filled with recommendations on how to solve the city's homelessness crisis. 

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP PHOTO

The median price for a single-family house in Washington state hit an all-time record of $317,500 in the second quarter of 2016.

That beats the prior record of $316,700 set in 2007, just before the housing market crashed, according to an analysis by the University of Washington's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

Seattle City Council

A proposed Seattle law that aims to ease the city's housing crisis by encouraging homeowners to build cottages in their backyards has run into resistance.

The Queen Anne Community Council is trying to force the city to conduct an environmental review of the law. The nonprofit has brought a case before the city's hearing examiner and says it has raised $25,000 for legal fees.

Diueine Monteiro / Flickr

About 240 more homeless veterans in Washington state will soon have an option for permanent housing.

The federal government has teamed up with local officials across the country, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, to tackle veteran homelessness. Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, spelled out their ambitious goal at a press conference in Seattle.

Ansel Herz / The Stranger

For the past few years, Seattle has experimented with a different approach to handling low-level drug and prostitution crimes, and new research shows that it’s paying off.

Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program aims to end the revolving door for people who cycle in and out of the justice system. It offers job training, housing and drug treatment to some offenders instead of prosecution. 

A Seattle apartment development company that has been building so-called aPodments will have to retrofit one of its complexes to make the building accessible for people with disabilities following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

APodments are micro-housing developments that have been springing up around Seattle in the past couple of years. They consist of a number of small apartments with shared kitchens and common areas. 

Centro LLC is the owner and developer of the building in question, a 56-unit Capitol Hill property managed by Calhoun Property Management.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

New housing starts are a key economic indicator, but not all new houses are created the same. A new report issued Friday shows Washington and Oregon are following a national shift away from single-family homes toward more apartment complexes.

Multi-family buildings, defined as those with five housing units or more, make up more than one-third of new residential construction in both states. The number has nearly doubled over the past decade.

Buildings full of so-called micro-dwellings have been going up in parts of Seattle, but not without controversy. Now the Seattle City Council is getting ready to consider changes to the code to provide more oversight. 

DarthNick photo / Flickr

New buildings packed with dorm-like rooms for rent have been popping up in Seattle’s densest neighborhoods.

A grey area in the law is allowing these so-called “micro-housing” projects to go up without neighborhood comment. A brown-bag discussion on the issue of takes place at City Hall today.

SalFalko / Flickr

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who says her decades-old drug convictions cost her a chance to rent an apartment—a violation of Washington state law. 

And hundreds others may have been illegally rejected for apartments in the state because of unfair background checks. 

Aaron Hushagen / KPLU

A new two-story home is under construction near the Space Needle at the Seattle Center.

Called the "House of the Immediate Future," it's part of the "Next 50" anniversary celebration of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

C4Chaos / Flickr

There are many more homeless children and young adults in King County than previous tallies have found, according to a new count out this month. The count found more than 140 children on the streets, in shelters or in unstable housing, and another 530 or so young adults 25 and under. Volunteers and social service agencies conducted the second annual one-night count in May, targeting homeless youth.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new study says increasing numbers of families in Walla Walla County are living in overcrowded conditions.