Kodiak's already ultra-tight housing situation is going to get much worse come the new year, as residents of about 30 apartments – some individuals, some families - are being asked to leave their downtown apartment building by the end of the year.
The Kodiak Plaza building, which housed state offices at street level and apartments on the upper floors, was bought by Trident Seafoods last year to be turned into a bunkhouse and associated offices. The company's processing plant, mostly inside a beached World War II Liberty Ship, is just a block away.
Though the sale has been known for about a year, and vacated apartments were not re-filled with renters, the 30-day eviction notices given to the remaining tenants was a bit of a shock to some, coming as it did in the middle of the holiday season.
Marnie Leist, whose daughter lived in the Kodiak Plaza half time with her father, said evicted tenants have been going door to door seeking to rent rooms.
“You know I live near downtown, and I got a random knock on my door, and it was a woman worked at one of the other canneries and we got to talking and (I said) this same situation happened to people I know. And she said she just found out she's on a month to month lease and everyone in the rest of that half of the building is going to have to leave by the end of the month, supposedly.”
She said the 25 or 35 tenants needing to find a place to stay all at once would only make the housing crisis harder.
“It's Trident's building and they can do what they want, but at the same time, we have a huge housing crisis here in Kodiak. I've met with former assembly members who've tried to work on the issue; I've spoken up about it at public meetings, and tried to raise awareness about it, to see if anything can happen. Even talking to my dad, and we're like, 'why aren't they doing anything? It's been years. It's not like this is a new issue.'”
Leist said the building had a contract with HUD to provide low-cost housing, and that displaced tenants who use payment vouchers will be even more hard-pressed to find suitable housing.
“You look at advertisements, most of it is 'no vouchers.' And pets, of course is an issue. I volunteer at the animal shelter, and unfortunately, a lot of people do have to turn in their pets because rentals don't allow pets. Even service animals sometimes. I know that a lot of the residents, who are forced to move out at, Christmastime are having difficulties finding places to live.”
A phone message left with Trident public relations in Seattle this (Thursday) morning was not returned by press time.