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As I stated in the title my father is very ill and I'll be moving back to WA from New England after being away for a long time. He lives up near Bothell. I've been reading these threads for quite awhile and could use some further advise/information due to my situation.
My first consideration is that I am on a fixed income and it's very expensive there. I've been looking as far away as Spokane/CDL and taking the bus/rail over for regular visits. I don't have to be sitting on him, but we'd both be comforted by the huge reduction in distance.
I'll be losing my local rent subsidy(special needs subsidy through a non-profit org) but being able to spend time with my dad in his waning years far outweighs it. Still, it's a burden I have to plan for. Right now I pay about $550 a month out of pocket for rent and utilities. I'll be losing about $450 in subsidy.
Aside from needing sunlight(seasonal depression), my own needs are no stairs(arthritis), my feisty cat and access to good high speed internet. I live as frugally as I can and with trying to keep out of the cloud cover I figured east of the Cascades might be the better option. I have no children so no worries about schools, it's just myself and the cat.
As far as Spokane, I love snow and would hate the fog. Not sure if living in "the bowl" would be a good idea, but it's close to ground travel and in case of emergency(and no fog/fingers crossed) I can jump on a commuter to Seattle. Suggestions of surrounding areas are welcomed. Virtually everyone I've spoken with said to stay away from Tri-Cities.
Honestly, I'd live in a cabin with an outhouse or someone's converted garage as long as I had high speed internet to continue my education while I could spend time with my dad. I'd really appreciate your suggestions. I'm looking at making the move Sept/Octish. Thank you.
I'm also considering the Wenatchee area as well due to the post about the fiber optic in the county, but would have to be concerned with winter commuting and also furthering my web design/herbalist/music studies. I'd most likely take the bus to Snohomish County when running. I'll be visiting during the summer and any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you.
Have you found rents that low in Spokane? It's definitely less than here in the Seattle area, where even a spare room in someone's house will run $700+. You might look at another place that's closer, such as Ellensburg,
or Moses Lake, for lower rent and shorter trips. I can't say how the internet is but Ellensburg does have a University.
Thank you for the response bisjoe and yes, I have found rents that low by looking on craigslist and some other sites. However, knowing the areas the rentals are located is another matter and I will be making a trip out this summer to visit the areas that appear affordable.
I hadn't looked at Ellensburg or Moses Hole because I am a snow addict. In consideration of rent they are both slightly more expensive than where I am now but not out of range. Being on a major interstate route would be helpful, moreso if the passes are open in the winter. The monthly(or so) bus trip would cost less from Ellensburg than Spokane and Moses Lake. If I had to take a flight, Ellensburg would be more convenient since Grant County closed to commercial flights last year. Aside from that I'm a mountain girl by nature but cow towns and orchards are pleasing as well(Aplets and Cotlets, need I say more?). In reviewing what data I can online, Ellensburg appears be the better option for my needs over Moses Lake.
As far as rents your way, I lived in a few places between Federal Way and Roy and other than my place in Roy, I thought rents were a bit expensive up north of the Aroma from Tacoma(See how long it's been?) lol. I'm not shocked by what I see now considering the influx going on when "Almost Live!" was my favorite tv program.
I know I have a ton to consider here and a lot to attempt to balance out. Just know that any assistance given that helps me move back to spend time with my dad is very much appreciated.
Last edited by Myhedhurtz; 01-26-2011 at 08:57 AM..
Clallam County has public transportation. There is a community college in Port Angeles. You rarely have to worry about snow keeping you from Seattle, and there are transportation options to get you to the east side of Puget Sound. It is also in a rain shadow, so you have less rain (but it still might be cloudy).
Keep in mind that any trip to Bothell from places like Wenatchee, Cle Elum/Ellensburg, Spokane or Sequim is going to be expensive. There isn't public transportation along those routes. So while you are thinking that rent would be cheaper in those places, one or two trips to visit your dad in a month is going make whatever savings you have on rent irrelevant. Yes, you can get from Wenatchee to Bothell on a bus, but it is going to take most of the day and will probably cost $40 or more.
Thank you sean98125 and your suggestions are noted. I really loved visiting Sequim when I was living in WA and made quite a few trips if only just for the Olympic Game Farm. It's a bit more expensive than other places I've considered(going by city-data and other sites) rent wise. I looked up the link you gave me and I'll keep it in mind as the time gets closer.
Spokane is about 8 hours by bus and everywhere else is about 3-4 depending on transfers. I don't mind the scenery and letting someone else do the driving for a change. I don't mind flying if an emergency or if it's something like a holiday or birthday and I'd be running the risk of pass closures. I'm looking at alternative travel to reduce driving stress but on "good" days I have a trusty car if needed.
It's the cloud cover, rain and lack of snow that eliminated much of the peninsula for me, and west of the Cascades. The area is gorgeous, but since cloudiness affects my depression, I have to keep that in mind. Virtually the entire time I lived there I felt depressed. It's not that the fog east of the mountains won't affect me, it will. But at least I usually won't have to wait days and even weeks for it to burn off. Snow makes me very happy and I have no idea why. I can sit for hours and hours watching snow accumulate where much more than sitting for a movie is a stretch.
However, if I found a great rental deal west of the Cascades I'd be a fool not to consider it but I'd have to live on medication/therapy if I did, which negates the cost of the extra travel if I lived elsewhere. I guess I'm trying to choose the lesser of two evils. The relatively fixed cost of travel(fuel fluctuations and time of year aside) or running out of money and having to stop therapy/medication because of what I would require. I'm sort of leaning towards being a happier person with fewer visits than a miserable person being so close yet unable to visit.
Luckily with renting I'd at least be 2800 miles closer and it will be easier to reevaluate my living situation and make any adjustments once I'm there. Thanks again.
Last edited by Myhedhurtz; 01-26-2011 at 10:09 AM..
Personally I would go with Spokane. Yes, it is a little further away, but there's a lot more to do and the scenery in my opinion is beautiful. And it's so cheap there! You can get a very nice apartment for under $500 a month, which you will not find west of the Cascades. Well, maybe you can, but you're going to get more for your money n Spokane. As far as I know Spokane doesn't really get fog, but I would check around to be sure.
My favorite area in Spokane is Brownes Addition. It's a little more expensive, but you can still find apartments within your price range there. Another good area is South Hill and also around Gonzaga University.
I would chop Moses Lake off the list because it's, as you put it, a "hole." Ellensburg is actually very nice, but I think it is a little more expensive, and they don't get as much sun as Spokane does.
Is there a reason other people have told you to stay away from Tri-Cities? They get a lot of sunshine. It is a lot further away from Bothel, but apart from that I really don't see a reason why you wouldn't consider it as well.
Thank you for responding Sobefobik. I did see quite a difference in the rental prices and types of apartments between here in Western Mass and Spokane which I found rather surprising. Not so much in just the cost, but in the overall apartment and complex which then red flags popped up for me regarding what areas they were located in.
I've seen some ads for 2 bedrooms with sometimes even a fireplace and extra storage for less than the actual cost($886 for 680 sq ft and without the subsidy) of the apartment I live in now. I think the hardest thing will be finding a first floor with no stairs that allows my cat.
I've looked up information on low income apartments and subsidy programs but I imagine there is a waiting list like everywhere else, and I'm not sure what a "cares assessment" is. I saw that there are some other programs I could sign up for. I can live on my own with occasional assistance. I need to make sure that wherever I end up has access to high speed internet so I may continue my education. There's no way I'm staying on disability if I can help it. The whole process has been dehumanizing, yet needed for survival.
I have no idea where I got "Moses Hole" from but I remembered us calling it that sometimes when we were kids. I've never actually visited there as I don't count a few drive-throughs when I was working as an actual visit.
Some family members and friends told me that with my conditions the Tri-cities areas would probably not be a wise idea aside from the lack of snow. One of my family members works in the legal field so he admittedly gets to see the worst of the crime. He agreed that there are good and bad areas but even he limits his time there overall not out of fear but out of sanity, lol. Convenience wise it would have it all, but from the standpoint of my own tolerances they suggested I look elsewhere.
I remember Spokane holding the record for the most airport closures due to fog but I don't remember when that was or if it's still current. Fog would aggravate me to some extent but at least it burns off and my spirits lift with it. I will definitely check out the areas you suggested.
When do college kids usually start putting deposits down for apartments? If things work out for me to come out this summer I'd like to slip in before all the nicer ones get snapped up. Thanks!
I can totally understand your dilemma with disability. My dad worked very hard his whole life with an illness, and it finally got to the point to where he just could not work anymore. It has been very difficult for him to adjust to being helped by the government--and dealing with all the hassles--but sometimes you need it just to get by.
I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the cheaper cost of living here in the west, or at least in Spokane. I wanted to move to Boston at one time, and I decided that it was just simply too expensive to live there. You can get 2 bedroom apartments in Spokane for $886 a month that are nice. I've even seen them for $600. Your best bet, though, is to find a 1 bedroom from $450 to $700 a month. Anything within that range is going to be decent if you look in the nicer areas.
You won't have a problem getting a place with high-speed Internet. It's just as available out here as it is on the east coast. It wouldn't hurt, though, to verify that with the landlord. Our main service here is Comcast, and unless you're living out in the middle of nowhere it's going to be available.
I'm not familiar with low-income apartments in Spokane, but I'm sure there are some. There are a few complexes in Seattle, and Portland, OR. has quite a few. We do have HUD that is run by the state, but the last I heard they closed it off to new people because of the dire state of Washington's finances. Personally, if you're able to afford $500 a month, I would try to find an apartment within that price range--or whatever you can afford--and not worry about getting on any subsidies. If you're not too picky, you will find an apartment within that price range unlike the east coast.
College kids are usually taking up the apartments the end of summer through August. If I were you, I would start looking in June and July. The earlier you look the more places will be available and nicer. There are a lot of small apartments, though, and it seems there is always stuff available.
I can definitely relate to that description of your dad and my tendency to be a workaholic drove me into the ground even faster. Some of us learn the hard way.
In working the numbers, if I stay within the 30% of income guidelines I'd have to stay under $500 if I'm paying most of the utilities. If I stay frugal and car insurance isn't outrageous even $500 should be doable and still have some money left to make a trip over the mountains every month. I have Comcast now so that makes things easier.
I'll definitely try and get out that way in June/July. Thanks so much for all your information. I'm always open to more ideas and information.
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