Rent hike could leave some homeless

Some residents at a Port Orchard apartment complex are scrambling to find new places to live after receiving eviction notices.

They say a combination of renovations and rent increases have left them with little to no choice.

Timber Run Apartments, also known as Holly Terrace, is owned by the Olympic Management Co. and is working its way providing several much-needed renovations. Both declined comment.

Many of the renters qualify for Section 8, a federally funded program that provides rental assistance for individuals and families with lower incomes. Multiple people declined to use their names for fear of backlash from the company, including some who are already being evicted.

Jennifer Hardison, executive director of South Kitsap Helpline and Food Bank, started noticing more residents of the apartments coming to her for help after new management started serving eviction notices in March.

“It’s a crisis situation,” she said. “If you don’t have family to fall back on, you’re in the woods.”

Rent now starts at $1,695 per month, which is hundreds of dollars more than what residents have been paying. Residents must make three times more than the rent to qualify to live there.

Hardison said one elderly woman, a 17-year resident, had to return to work and move in with her son in order for them to qualify to live there. Another woman moved out altogether. “She’s actually camping right now. It sounds like she sold all of her furniture and everything,” Hardison said.

Brenda Enos has been told to move out by the end of July. She said that she still has no idea where she is going to live and does not know if family is even an option. “My mom is essentially in the same situation I’m in right now,” Enos said.

Another resident facing eviction is John Lameros, who said that he has an application into the senior center in town, but would rather live in his own place. “I may be a senior citizen, but I’m not dead,” he said.

William Eberheart, an eight-year resident of the complex, is still living there but said he is not being taken seriously by the new owners. “They don’t even come and talk to me,” he said. “I tell ‘em what they’re doing wrong, and they just ignore me.”

Brian Prier moved into one of the renovated apartments six months ago with his girlfriend. He said that the complex seems to be taking on a new image. “It’s the nature of it,” he said. “The owners want to make more money, and they probably don’t want those lower-income individuals to be around here for a variety of reasons. It’s clear they’re trying to spruce up the image of the place.”

Prier, while understanding some of the owners intentions, said that “it sucks. Everybody needs a place to stay. I don’t know where else they’re going to end up going, especially when rent is as high as it is.”

Hardison tied it back to the homelessness issue in Kitsap County, saying that events like these mass evictions are part of the problem.

“All of these people that are complaining about homelessness and people in tents and people out by Fred Meyer now since they cleared Veterans Park—these are the reasons that this is happening to people. And I just think it needs to be addressed,” she said.

Signs on some buildings tell where renovations are being done.

Signs on some buildings tell where renovations are being done.