affordable housing

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Amazon has been growing so fast in Seattle that the company has lately been blamed for everything from too few women in the dating pool to traffic gridlock and rising rents. Now, the company is trying to show how having its campus in Seattle is a benefit to the city. 

People who want to live in a place with all of the amenities of a city but without Seattle’s housing prices are heading south. Real estate agents like Marguerite Giguere are noticing  the trend.

“They are people who would not be able to buy even a modest condo in Seattle and might have been looking to buy in places like Kent or Burien and then realize, ‘Wow, if I go to Kent or if I go to Burien, I’m going to be in a suburb.’”

Ed Ronco / KPLU

From Louis Edelman’s apartment in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, you can see the Space Needle. Seattle’s iconic landmark is just a few blocks away. But it’s not the only thing popping out of the skyline. Construction cranes dot the landscape, too, as they build office towers and apartments in South Lake Union.

Edelman, who has lived in the 100 block of Roy Street for 10 years. He tends bar down the street and lives in an older apartment building, which he affectionately calls “the bartender projects.”

Creative Commons

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has revealed what he’s calling a “grand bargain” to ease the city’s affordable housing crunch, and it relies on a series of carrots and sticks for developers.

The heart of the plan is a proposal to let developers build bigger buildings in exchange for creating thousands of new affordable units, and charging new fees on commercial developments.

There’s a lottery being held in Seattle. But, this one isn’t about winning big bucks. It’s about a chance at affordable housing.

The lottery is being run by the Seattle Housing Authority for slots on a wait list for the Section 8 voucher program.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The number of homeless people in King County continues to grow, according to this year’s One Night Count which showed a 21 percent jump from last year in the number of people without shelter. 

Volunteers found people sleeping in doorways, under overpasses, in cars and in alleys. Some were just wandering around, no place to go.

From Auburn to Woodinville, Seattle to Kirkland, 3,772 homeless people were counted this year, up from 3,123 last year.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is criticizing Mayor Ed Murray’s newly created affordable housing committee, saying the group is skewed toward developers with not enough low-income housing advocates.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

A group of disabled and elderly tenants being priced out of a Seattle apartment building are striking back.

Several residents of the Theodora Apartments in Ravenna have filed suit under federal fair housing laws. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Even hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour may not be enough to allow low-wage workers to afford rent in Seattle, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

Ashley Gross

Options are running out for tenants of an apartment complex in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood who are facing much higher rents once the new owner renovates their units. Seattle City Council members say more needs to be done to make sure other renters don’t face a similar plight.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle’s next mayor will face the challenge of balancing the city’s growth with affordability. 

“Because our city’s popular, because we’re adding jobs, because more people want to live in our walkable urban places, the competition for existing housing is driving up the rent, driving up housing prices,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Both McGinn and challenger Ed Murray shared their ideas, many of them similar, on ways to create affordable housing for people of all income.

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. 

National Low Income Housing Coalition

A minimum-wage earner must work two full-time jobs year-round to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Washington state, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

To afford $966 — the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the state, the study found a minimum-wage earner must work 81 hours per week ­– or two minimum-wage earners in the same household must work full-time — to avoid spending more than 30 percent of income on housing.

Plymouth Housing

King County has been working to reduce homelessness, but the need for housing and shelter is still large. In Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, 81 homeless people will soon move into a brand-new building called the Pat Williams Apartments.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle’s oldest public housing project, Yesler Terrace, is headed for a massive redevelopment, and that means years of upheaval for its 1,200 residents. At least they’re guaranteed some kind of housing. Others are not so lucky. The poor economy has made a chronic shortage of subsidized housing in Seattle even worse.

Diane Rivers is one of the people who's been trying for years to find a permanent home that she can afford.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Home prices have dropped almost 30 percent from their peak in Seattle, but there are still a lot of people who can’t afford to buy a home in the city. Now, a new program is tackling that problem by converting foreclosed homes into affordable housing.

Under the program, you could buy a house for $85,000 less than what it’s worth - if you make below a certain income threshold.

Cris Pierry

Finding a place to rent can be a hassle.  If you don’t have much money,  it’s even more difficult.

Now, a new website,,  provides help in locating reasonably priced housing  in King County. The website is a free service for tenants and landlords. It's been in operation a little over a month and is averaging about 12,000 searches a week.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

It’s been a long running problem – how to keep and create affordable spaces for artists to live, work and perform in.

That’s the focus of Cultural Space Seattle, a two-day event beginning Tuesday at Town Hall. The City of Seattle is asking a wide range of people to roll up their sleeves to look for ways to preserve Seattle’s vibrant arts scene.