Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "housing" ...

  • Detroit's foreclosure meltdown

    This series investigated the impact of a decade of mortgage foreclosures on Detroit neighborhoods by tracking the fate of nearly 65,000 bank foreclosed homes. We found that subprime lending and bargain-basement sales of these homes contributed to a $500 million loss for the city in unpaid property taxes and demolition costs.
  • City landlords cash in on rent aid, ignore tax bills

    This entry consists of Christine MacDonald's story "City landlords cash in on rent aid, ignore tax bills," which ran in The Detroit News on Friday, March 28, 2014. The News found that 1 in 4 Detroit landlords getting federal money to rent to poor families through the state’s Section 8 program were property tax deadbeats.
  • Inmates making insiders wealthy

    Privately owned and operated work-release programs are a new fad in corrections. Work-release programs tend to reduce recidivism rates and inmates are able to save some money while in prison so they don’t re-enter the real world penniless. Privately run programs, according to proponents, are superior to those run by public entities, because private operators take a percentage of inmate wages and are thus incentivized to find the best possible jobs for inmates. However, as The Advocate’s stories have shown, the private companies that get this work tend to be politically connected, and they don’t have any real incentive to provide quality housing or food or to prevent escapes. They chronicled problems with escapes, drug use and even death at one outfit run by friends of the sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb. That facility was shut down after our reporting (which the sheriff called “reckless”). As another direct result of their investigation, the state secretary of the Department of Corrections announced that in the future, work-release programs would only get contracts after undergoing a competitive process.
  • Trashed Trailers

    Contaminated flood waters roared through Northern Colorado mobile home parks in September 2013. When the waters receded, some of the homes were soaked to the rooflines and were knocked from their foundations. Hundreds of the homes were condemned and left to rot and mold for months. Government officials presumed the homes would end up in landfills. However, a six-month 9Wants to Know investigation spanning five counties discovered profiteers were sneaking these mobile homes into new communities, fixing them up without proper building permits and safety inspections, and marketing them to unsuspecting families. 9Wants to Know found government regulators were blindsided by the flood trailer problem due to a tremendous lack of oversight in the mobile home industry. As a result of their investigation, government officials scrambled to identify the flooded homes and bar unsafe housing from their communities.
  • Greed, corruption in George West

    Our investigation uncovered the fact that the city of George West used a public infrastructure loan called a “certificate of obligation” to purchase housing for the city manager and other, select city employees. They justified the expenditure by placing the homes in a city-owned park. Which they called a “park improvement.” The first story gave birth to several follow-ups, with more to come.
  • Product of Mexico

    Americans have grown accustomed to year-round supplies of fresh, affordable fruit and vegetables. “Product of Mexico,” a four-part Los Angeles Times series, made vividly clear the human costs of this abundance. The 18-month investigation found that many farm laborers at Mexican export farms are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply. Those who seek to escape have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and threats of violence. Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.
  • Stop The Mold

    Reporters from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism's NYCity News Service worked with the New York Daily News on a series of stories chronicling the city's losing battle to rid public housing of mold and detailing the related health and financial tolls extracted by the crisis.
  • UNTREATED: How Ignoring Mental Illness Costs Us All

    This devastating Rocky Mountain PBS I-News series examined the state of behavioral health care in Colorado. The costs of untreated mental illnesses in the state run into the billions of dollar each year, factoring in emergency medical expenses, lost wages, disability payments, and the price of housing the mentally ill in county jails and state prisons, among other quantifiable numbers. As big as the financial burdens of untreated mental illness are, the personal costs are greater. In Colorado, people with mental illnesses are more than five times as likely to be in jail or in prison than in a hospital treatment bed. For rural Coloradans, mental health services can be hundreds of miles away, or simply put, unavailable. In a state that has suffered mass shooting tragedies rooted in mental illness, intervention is still exceedingly difficult, and the series explores the reasons why.
  • Profiting Off the Poor

    This series of columns examines the damage caused by repeated abuses of Texas adverse possession laws by companies headed by Douglas T. "Chase" Fonteno. The series outlines the complex nature of Fonteno's interlocking businesses and the web of deceit that helped hide his real estate transactions from county, state and federal agencies. He claimed deeds to other people's houses, without the real owners' knowledge or consent, and sold those houses to unsuspecting people who, in almost all cases, were poor, uneducated and often spoke little English. The series uncovered millions of dollars in unpaid taxes and liens, along with other nefarious activities that appear to have included document forgery and misuse of a Texas notary stamp. Fonteno's antics helped delay urban development in one of Dallas's most downtrodden urban neighborhoods.
  • New Push for Banks to Monitor Building Conditions

    This article represents the results of a three-month investigation by a select group of City University of New York students into a critical and overlooked social justice issue: the role of banks as enablers of negligent and even abusive landlords.