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Renovations on Tacoma apartment complex begin while some still live there

People being evicted from Tacoma's Tiki Apartments are mad that the owner has already started demolishing the place with them still living there. (KOMO News)

TACOMA, Wash. -- People being evicted from Tacoma's Tiki Apartments are mad that the owner has already started demolishing the place with them still living there.

Many of them still have not found an affordable place to go. The new owner gave them a reprieve until June 30 to move out.

"They're just up knocking down walls and stuff and it's hard to sleep. They're doing their job I guess, but it's pretty rude," said resident Bill Fowles.

He and Donna Peterson say they can't wait to get away from the noise and from the threat of having no place to live. "I want to vacate this place as soon as possible."

On Wednesday, they headed to yet another apartment complex to see if their application has been approved.

"It's supposed to be a grace period," said resident Sarah Howe who is blind. "But the only grace is when they stop doing their construction at night."

Apartments on either side of Howe's have been gutted for renovation. "I dream about it in my sleep and I wake up to it. I have nightmares about it and I wake up to it."

After five weeks of looking she still has not found an affordable place to live that is wheelchair accessible and can accommodate a blind person.

She said, "I want to change 'I can't' to an 'I can' and I'm asking your viewers' help and I'm asking for anybody's help because I want to stay in Tacoma."

Monica Klavano is also in a wheelchair with no place to go yet. "We don't," she said. "We're still hopeful."

What started at the Tiki Apartments has grown into a movement where city leaders are looking at improvements in affordable housing.

The city council Tuesday voted to require more affordable housing at new apartments around the Tacoma Mall and earlier lengthened eviction notice requirements to 90 days.

"I'm glad to know this will make a difference for other people that's going through the same situation," said Tiki resident Mary Young. On Wednesday, she got word from a social service agency that she may have a new place to go.

And Fowles returned from the trip to the other apartments where he said it looks like they'll be accepted. "I'm ready to pack up and head down the road."

They want to do what Brian Irish was doing Wednesday. He was packing and moving to a new place. However, his rent is twice the $570 a month he was paying at the Tiki.

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