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Seniors claim harassment; Speaking out against affordable housing management

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ARCATA- A handful of Plaza Point residents claim that they have been threatened and harassed by property management. Tenants fear they will be evicted unfairly for minor infractions OR going against the company, AWI.

Plaza point, an affordable housing complex for seniors, was built by DANCO and completed in June 2012. AWI, a property management company based in Auburn, Calif. is contracted by DANCO to supervise the apartment.

Maureen Kane has lived there since June, she said her neighbors are fearful that they will be evicted if they go against management or make complaints about the building to managers. "It sounds like, if you don't do this, you're going to get a notice of eviction," she said.

Several residents spoke in open comment at the Arcata City Council meeting on Wednesday night about the harassment at the apartment complex. Kane said she wanted to make the city's elected officials aware of the problem.

Kane said the main problem with the building is the noise. Kane lives on the third floor and said she can hear the residents below her walking, "Footsteps of people under me."

Janice Fetzer was one of the first tenants to move in. She said she was excited when she first moved in, but immediately was aware of the noise problem. "From the get go, noise was an issue," she said.

Fetzer has received several complaints about causing too much noise in her one bedroom apartment. "I'm probably a little less noisy than the average," she said. Fetzer said the problem was so bad that she would get regular complaints and even attempted to change the way she walked to be quieter.

Fetzer said she is afraid the projected noise in the apartment  from her steps will put her at risk of being evicted. "I don't know where I would go. It's very, very hard to find affordable housing here. I'm on a really limited income," said Fetzer. "What if I get kicked out?"

Kane said several residents have sent letters to the property manager, but have received aggressive letters in response. She said the management company has never fixed the problems.

One woman who lived there said she was fearful of speaking out or signing a letter. She said she was afraid if she did, she would be evicted or singled out.

Vice President of AWI, Michael Burke said he had responded to every letter he has received. "We have an “open door” policy and any resident has the ability to reach out to the on-site manage, the Regional Manager, or myself as an owner of AWI….without fear of retaliation," said Burke in a statement.

Burke said he had addressed the ideas previously. "My next step is to meet with staff to review the commentary and our actions to date and determine if further measures are needed to address the items raised."

DANCO said they did not wish to comment on the matter.

Fetzer hopes the action at city hall will help the management company and the residents communicate better. "I think and I hope that eventually some steps will be taken," said Fetzer