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 rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "rental" ...

  • Toronto Star: Rise of Ghost Hotels

    The data investigation began with the question: Is Airbnb exacerbating Toronto's rental crisis by enabling short-term operations to flourish at the expense of long-term rental stock? We analyzed more than 20,000 Airbnb listings data scraped by independent third-party website insideairbnb.com. We also filed requests for documents on business incorporation to validate our findings about commercial operators.
  • SeaTimes: Out of homelessness

    Project Homeless wasn’t conceived as an investigative unit. Reporting on potential solutions to the region’s worsening homelessness was, at least initially, our stated mission. But it became clear soon after I joined the team last year that the agencies and systems that play a role in the region’s response to homelessness have received little scrutiny from the press. So, I started taking a hard look at how they work and how the public money that keeps them running is spent. That's how I found the woman at the center of this story, Carolyn Malone. She was just one of several people I found who used publicly-funded rental housing vouchers, only to end up in a squalid and potentially unsafe rental home. Two of those homes were at one time owned by one of Seattle's worst slumlords.
  • Rental Inspections

    Student rental housing being the chief industry of our small college town of Frostburg, Md., student reporter Brad Kroner worked for months to obtain city inspection data of rental units. The information finally provided showed 75 percent of rental units had not been inspected in the past three years, as required by municipal code, including many units owned by the mayor. Embarrassed by the published story that resulted, City Hall quickly released an updated set of data – which still showed the city was far from compliant – and said the first set was incomplete because its beleaguered staff had to compile the data from scratch. In other words, the city did not even have the data to know whether it was compliant, until an undergraduate filed a Maryland Public Information Act request asking for it.
  • The Real War on Families—Why the U.S. Needs Paid Leave Now

    This groundbreaking investigative report reveals the staggering toll on new mothers who must return to work within weeks or days of childbirth. Lerner’s report profiles mothers around the country who went back to work as quickly as 7 days after childbirth, and describes in heartbreaking detail the mental and physical costs of juggling a job and a newborn. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed for In These Times’ report showed that 1 in 4 women return to work within two weeks of childbirth. The report serves as a vital intervention—at a time when calls for paid parental leave in the United States are growing at both the state and federal level—putting the severity of the issue into stark relief by adding a human face to it.
  • No Place to Call Home

    For low-income residents in Portland, Section 8 has historically been the golden ticket for housing, allowing them to live in market-rate homes instead of housing projects or on the street. But Portland's booming rental market makes it nearly impossible for people with Section 8 to find a home that fits within the criteria set by the program. No Place to Call Home examines the problems with the Section 8 program in Multnomah County and introduces readers to one disabled senior with Section 8 who's facing homelessness – and fighting back.
  • Disastrous Relief

    The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters (or MANFF) was supposed to be an advocate for Aboriginal evacuees of the devastating Manitoba floods of 2011. Two First Nations communities were completely written-off by flood waters, leaving over 2,000 people homeless. MANFF was to make life easier for these evacuees as they waited-out government wrangling in hotels and rental houses scattered throughout the province, separated form loved ones and their home communities. $85 million (and counting) flowed through MANFF to care for these evacuees. And yet millions of dollars in bills went unpaid. Frustrated and frightened evacuees eventually contacted APTN with reports of bullying and mistreatment by MANFF staff. Melissa Ridgen looks for answers in APTN Investigates’ Season 5 premier, Disastrous Relief.
  • Backfire

    The investigation revealed that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) employed rogue tactics in undercover storefront strings in Milwaukee and across the country, including using those with mental disabilities to promote the operations – and then turning around and charging them with gun and drug crimes. The investigation found ATF agents set up operations near schools and churches, allowing them to arrest people on more serious charges; let felons armed with guns leave the fake storefronts; paid such high prices that people bought guns from stores and then quickly sold them to agents; bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in the area; arrested and charged the wrong people; and drew in juveniles by allowing them to play video games, smoke marijuana and drink alcohol; failed to employ sufficient security, allowing sting storefronts to be burglarized; carelessly handled sensitive documents containing undercover officer’s names and vehicle information; and left behind damaged rental properties, failing to pay landlords for repairs. In Milwaukee, an ATF agent’s guns were stolen, including an automatic machine gun, which has not been recovered. The sting operations were part of an ATF initiative meant to go after “the worst of the worst” and target areas beset by violent crime. But in the Milwaukee operation and elsewhere, the defendants largely had nonviolent criminal backgrounds. Even a federal prosecutor criticized the ATF for the kinds of people targeted.
  • Backfire

    The investigation revealed that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) employed rogue tactics in undercover storefront strings in Milwaukee and across the country, including using those with mental disabilities to promote the operations – and then turning around and charging them with gun and drug crimes. The investigation found ATF agents set up operations near schools and churches, allowing them to arrest people on more serious charges; let felons armed with guns leave the fake storefronts; paid such high prices that people bought guns from stores and then quickly sold them to agents; bought stolen goods, spurring burglaries in the area; arrested and charged the wrong people; and drew in juveniles by allowing them to play video games, smoke marijuana and drink alcohol; failed to employ sufficient security, allowing sting storefronts to be burglarized; carelessly handled sensitive documents containing undercover officer’s names and vehicle information; and left behind damaged rental properties, failing to pay landlords for repairs. In Milwaukee, an ATF agent’s guns were stolen, including an automatic machine gun, which has not been recovered. The sting operations were part of an ATF initiative meant to go after “the worst of the worst” and target areas beset by violent crime. But in the Milwaukee operation and elsewhere, the defendants largely had nonviolent criminal backgrounds. Even a federal prosecutor criticized the ATF for the kinds of people targeted.
  • Fair Housing in America

    ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones looked at how and why the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development has failed to enforce the Fair Housing Act. She traced the nation’s history of housing discrimination, from the Great Migration of African Americans to Northern cities in the early 1900’s to the post-World War II boom and into the 1960’s. Again and again, her reporting showed, federal agencies played a pivotal role in keeping white and black Americans separate. While the law required localities to “affirmatively further’’ fair housing, neither Democratic nor Republican presidents had the political will to enforce it. Over time, courts interpreted that provision to mean that HUD could withhold billions of dollars in grants from communities that were not doing everything possible to end segregation. Yet officials charged with enforcing the fair housing law told Hannah-Jones they were often ignored or undercut by others inside HUD, who saw the agency’s main mission as distributing development dollars. Even when courts issued rulings insisting that communities honor the law’s intentions, as she notes in a case about Westchester County, New York, they were routinely ignored by HUD officials and local politicians alike. Hannah-Jones also looked at how little HUD does to root out or punish racial steering and overt discrimination in the sale and rental of property. Millions of Latinos and African Americans face such bias each year. Yet HUD hardly ever does the sort of undercover testing proven to catch landlords and real estate agents in the act.
  • Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals

    This story is about one of the most fought-over pieces of property in Los Angeles, the 400 acre Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in West Los Angeles. It’s in an affluent neighborhood and has been a target of developers. But with many unused buildings, it’s also been coveted as a place to house some of L.A.’s 8,000 homeless veterans. That was the original use of the land, which was donated for an Old Soldiers’ Home in the late 19th century. The VA has not acted on plans announced in 2007 to begin rehabbing unused buildings there for housing for homeless vets. Meanwhile, it’s rented out land and buildings to commercial enterprises. There is no public accounting for this income. Through FOIA and other documents, we found that the VA is renting out the property using a law intended for sharing health care resources, though the renters are non-health related commercial enterprises. We were also able to estimate that the VA has taken in at least 28 million and possibly more than 40 million dollars over the past dozen years, far more than the cost of re-habbing a building to house homeless vets.