"The Housing Games," Student Journalists Investigate Crisis

Dec 12, 2018

"What stood out for me was we found a system that pits working professionals, students, families, and the mentally ill all in one housing pool, all fighting to find the same housing," says student journalist Freddy Brewster.  Brewster and Tony Wallin were two of the 20 HSU students in Marcy Burstiner's investigative reporting class who collaborated on the North Coast Journal's cover story, "The Housing Games," this week.  

Brewster, Wallin and their fellow students found that the crisis in local housing and discrimination in local rental housing starts with the inadequate supply which, in turn, creates a hierarchy of potential tenants, "those (renters) that landlords and property managers see as less desirable as tenants are left out."

We found a system that pits working professionals, students, families, and the mentally ill all in one housing pool, all fighting to find the same housing," says student journalist Freddy Brewster.

The team of students explain how they used local and national data to uncover trends and find tenants, property managers and landowners to interview. 

Wallin says that "pushbacks" like lack of community support and NIMBY-ism are factors in the lack of affordable housing but that permitting was a surprising roadblock too.

Wallin says the story also uncovers the conditions local renters live in - some because they feel they have to to afford a place to live.

Thad Greenson, North Coast Journal news editor also spoke about the history of the HSU Investigative Journalism collaboration with the paper.