Housing Squeeze featured image

WOUB News takes an in-depth look at the housing crisis in new reporting project called “The Housing Squeeze”

Posted on:

< < Back to

The first two stories of the series are being released today (March 28, 2024). You can find it at

ATHENS, OH – The housing crisis is impacting people in our region in several different ways. There are many complex issues and unique problems people and communities are facing. Some examples include: buyers being told to put up a $30,000 nonrefundable deposit when making an offer, a couple with a $270,000 budget unable to find a home in Athens, a trailer where water is getting in the electrical sockets but the landlord won’t make repairs, an economic development official in Washington County turning away a billion dollar business because there weren’t enough homes for the 1200 new employees, and Habitat for Humanity not being able to construct a new home for less than $150,000 with mostly free labor.

These issues and many more will be examined in a new WOUB News reporting project called WOUB: The Housing Squeeze. The stories, written by Reporters David Forster and Theo Peck-Suzuki, are being released on and broadcast on WOUB FM Radio starting today (March 28).

“There are simply not enough homes for everyone in southeast Ohio, and no one seems able to build more,” said Peck-Suzuki. “From this one problem, a cascade of others follow.”

The first piece in the series will tell the story of a young couple, with a healthy housing budget, that wants to move to Athens, but can’t find a home. The second piece looks at the issue of substandard rental housing in the region and the struggle to get landlords to make needed repairs. When repairs aren’t made, it can lead to safety issues for tenants. Other topics that will be explored in the series are the Section 8 program, exclusionary zoning, senior housing, business development and housing, and homelessness.

“The housing crisis is causing problems up and down the income spectrum. There are comfortably middle-class couples looking for their first home who can’t find a house to buy. There are landlords neglecting rental properties until they become unlivable. And local officials can’t attract new businesses because there’s nowhere to house their employees,” said Peck-Suzuki. “So much of what we do as a society depends on housing. When housing is in short supply, it throws everything out of whack.”

Forster and Peck-Suzuki have been working on the series since last summer.

“Each of our sources kept telling us that the housing crisis is very complicated,” said Peck-Suzuki. “Eventually, we realized they were right. The situation is so complicated that one story could never explain things adequately.”

As the series is released, Forster and Peck-Suzuki are hopeful that readers and listeners will learn something they didn’t know before.

“I hope this helps people in our region understand what’s happening in their own lives better. Pretty much everyone is dealing with the housing crisis now in some way. Whatever that way is, I think there’s something in this series that will resonate,” said Peck-Suzuki. “I also hope people come away understanding their neighborhoods and communities better. People don’t always know what the folks down the road are dealing with. This series will shed some light on that. And finally, I hope that as challenging as the situation is, it gets people thinking about solutions. We’re not writing a doom and gloom series here. There are people all over the place who are trying a bunch of different things to address the problem. The more people know about and care about the housing crisis, the stronger those efforts to solve it become.”

You can find the series here: