BUILDING SOLUTIONS

a special KCAW series on affordable housing solutions

 

In Sitka, housing is expensive and hard to find. That can have all kinds of consequences for the community. What’s being done to help?

“Every single year housing is a crisis. It’s a tremendous problem: availability, quality of the stock, affordability. There aren’t enough buildings. They cost too much, and there’s way too many buildings that people shouldn’t be living in.”

-Randy Hughey, Sitka Community Land Trust

A Q&A with Sitka Community Land Trust Co-Executive Directors Mim McConnell and Randy Hughey

A Q&A with Sitka Community Land Trust Co-Executive Directors Mim McConnell and Randy Hughey

This week marks the end of KCAW’s Building Solutions series, a special look at affordable housing solutions in Sitka and Southeast Alaska. To conclude, KCAW’s Erin McKinstry circles back to the Sitka Community Land Trust and talks with Co-Executive Directors Mim McConnell and Randy Hughey. The organization has started an affordable cottage neighborhood with a unique model to help new homeowners enter the market.
For the youngest member of Sitka’s planning commission, affordable housing is a top priority

For the youngest member of Sitka’s planning commission, affordable housing is a top priority

Katie Riley, 28, grew up in Sitka. After leaving for college and working abroad, she returned to her hometown and decided to get involved. She’s the youngest member of the Sitka Planning Commission and has a passion for addressing Sitka’s affordable housing crisis. KCAW’s Erin McKinstry spoke with Riley about the problem and possible solutions as part of a special “Building Solutions” series.
For one Sitkan, a dream of debt-free home ownership came in the form of a trailer

For one Sitkan, a dream of debt-free home ownership came in the form of a trailer

When people think of trailer homes, many envision shoddy construction and unhealthy living conditions, but in places like Sitka where construction costs are high and land availability is low, they’re an important affordable housing alternative. For one Sitkan, renovating a trailer provided a path to debt-free home ownership, and this resident is not the only one looking beyond the stigma of trailer living.
Tongass Tiny Home finds a home in Juneau

Tongass Tiny Home finds a home in Juneau

The Tongass Tiny Home project, a six-year collaboration between the Sitka Conservation Society and Sitka High School, has finally come to an end. The student-built tiny house was sold to a buyer in Juneau this spring. As part of KCAW’s Building Solutions series about affordable housing, Sitka Conservation Society’s Chandler O’Connell spoke with KCAW’s Erin McKinstry about lessons learned and the possibilities tiny homes hold for Sitka.
Sitka’s getting its largest apartment complex in over two decades. But the developer says it doesn’t pencil out.

Sitka’s getting its largest apartment complex in over two decades. But the developer says it doesn’t pencil out.

When land is scarce, one way to make housing more affordable is to increase density by building apartment complexes and multi-family homes. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. In Sitka, the largest apartment building in over two decades is going up, but the ten units will be more costly than the market average. A developer behind the project says the economics just don’t pencil out.
ADUs could make Sitka’s housing more affordable. Advocates want to make them easier to build.

ADUs could make Sitka’s housing more affordable. Advocates want to make them easier to build.

Whether you rent or buy, housing in Sitka is expensive--median home values and rent prices are consistently among the highest in the state. So, some Sitkans are adding cabins and mother-in-law apartments to their properties to help pay their mortgages and expand Sitka’s tight rental market. Affordable housing advocates want the city to make so-called “Accessory Dwelling Units,” or ADUs, easier to build.

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