DES MOINES, Iowa — The Jefferson Apartments have provided an affordable option for people looking to live near downtown Des Moines, but its days may be numbered.
All of its tenants received a letter from the building’s owner, the Krause Group, on Friday evening. The letter tells residents the building on the 1500 block of Grand Avenue “does not meet our standards” and that the company has “begun the process of vacating the building.”
The building is a block away from the Krause Group’s headquarters and is within its planned Gateway District development proposal.
The letter does not mention the word eviction and provides resources for housing help, but residents are already worrying about what is next.
“These people are going to have nowhere to go. They’re basically going to be on the street,” said resident Tim Coltrain, who said he was in the process of moving before the letter was distributed.
“These people have owned this place for five years. What happened in the last week that it’s suddenly not up to standards?” Coltrain said. “Just because people are poor, doesn’t mean they’re bad.”
Army veteran Jim Kimpell said he recently moved in and had plans to stay at the apartments for two years. He said there was no prior indication that the building owners would move to vacate the property.
“The VA set me up here, and I was just getting my stuff out,” Kimpell said. “It’s scaring me now. “When they let this many people go and tell us we have to move, where are we going?”
Mike Manahl, who is blind, has lived at the apartments for more than 20 years. He said the cost and proximity to bus lines has kept him there for this long, and he does not know where he will go if he is forced out.
“I felt this was a personal attack,” Manahl said. “Whenever I start to panic, I remember what my dad said to me. He said, ‘If you panic, you’re dead. You want to stay alive, don’t panic.'”
The Krause Group did not respond to requests for comment on this story at the time of this report.