Fixed-income residents priced out of apartment building

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) At 74, retired, having survived heart disease, Colleen Danielson is uncertain about her immediate future.

She receives just $806 a month from Social Security and pays $550 of that for a tiny studio apartment. Soon she won't have that. Like others, she's being priced out of her home.

"I'm absolutely devastated that all this is happening at this time."

The Civic Center Apartments have been sold. The new owners want to refurbish the place and raise the rent. When they're done his postage stamp apartment will rent for $900.

There are 44 units here, all apparently occupied by seniors, disabled vets, people on fixed incomes.

"I called him (the manager) and talked with him about it and he said people on fixed incomes won't be able to stay here."

Some are month-to-month. Some have leases. Colleen's was up November first, the day she got her eviction notice.

One by one they're all being told they have to go.

The mayor's office referred her to Washoe Legal Services, which got her 30-day eviction extended to January 3.

She hasn't been sitting still since getting the notice. She's worked through an impressive list of leads and agencies and, so far, no luck.

"I've been through every list and there's nothing right now."

If --against odds--she finds something she can afford, she may not have the money to reserve it. Even though the place is being renovated they're holding her present deposit until she leaves. Having that deposit, she says, would give her money to go look for something.

"And be able to put down a deposit and hold it until the first or third or fifth."

The apartments are in Councilman Oscar Delgado's ward. He urged them to call his office.

"If you receive a letter from your landlord, some kind of notification if you're a renter, notify us. Let us put you in touch with some resources, even legal resources so that everything is questioned and scrutinized. especially for seniors and those disabled and those on fixed incomes."

After talking with us the councilman tried to contact the new owners and like us was only able to leave a message.

It's not clear what--if anything--can be done.

We were told by some this building was operated under a tax credit low-cost housing contract. State officials checked and say that's apparently not so. The owners are apparently within their rights to act.

With the holidays approaching, that's no comfort to Colleen Danielson, who says she may find herself on a bus with only her clothes and her cat, looking for a new home.

"I still have to live. I don't know. I really don't know. That's why I'm talking to you. I really don't know what to do."