Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said he hopes to persuade the new owners of a Bench apartment complex that houses refugees to soften their insistence that tenants vacate the premises early this month.
Bieter said Wednesday that he has tried to call Glenbrook Apartments owners Mark E. and Caran Daly of Eagle several times without success and plans to keep trying.
“I’m attempting to contact them and ask them to have a heart about this,” he told the Idaho Statesman.
About 400 residents live in the complex near the intersection of South Curtis Road and Cassia Street. Most are refugees.
Verity Property Management, a Boise company that manages the complex for the Dalys, notified most of the tenants around Sept. 1 that their month-to-month leases would not be renewed, meaning they must vacate within the next week or two. The Dalys bought the complex intending to renovate the interiors and exteriors and raise rents, now $575 to $650 a month, to between $900 and $1,000.
Bieter said that is too little time for tenants to find new housing in a rental market whose vacancy rates are “as low as anybody can remember.”
“We understand they have a right to this. You buy an asset. You make improvements to add value and to your return from it,” Bieter said. “We’re asking they work as best as they can to give as much time as possible.”
City spokesman Mike Journee said officials are “working with people who can provide resources to those affected,” starting with the International Rescue Committee of Boise. The nonprofit refugee advocacy group has offered to help Glenbrook tenants find temporary or permanent housing. The IRC also asked Verity to extend the deadlines to vacate and expedite the return of security deposits.
“There’s lots of discussion about homelessness in our city, and we would hate to see any people, through no fault of their own, to find themselves in a situation where they no longer have a home,” Journee said.
CONFEDERATE FLAG ON FACEBOOK
Several advocates tied Verity’s unwillingness to offer flexibility to the vacating tenants to a Confederate flag appearing on Mark E. Daly’s Facebook page.
A photo of the Dalys was posted on the page June 29, with the flag overlain as a filter. The posting was in response to other Facebook users using rainbow filters to support the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
“I really wanted to be part of the in crowd and put one of those cool rainbow flag images superimposed over my profile picture,” the post said. “Somewhere along the line, I think I hit the wrong button, though.”
The post received one comment, from Caran Daly’s account: “Love it!”
Bill Brown, an Episcopal priest, said that if the post was a joke, it was tasteless.
“At the very least, it shows a lack of sensitivity on their part,” Brown said. “This thing at Glenbrook certainly shows a lack of sensitivity to the lives of the people they are impacting in this mass nonrenewal.”
Julianne Donnelly Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee of Boise, said she was frustrated by the post.
“It’s a shame Mr. Daly would champion such a divisive and hurtful symbol,” she said. “It does not represent the welcoming communities we work with here in Idaho.”
Calls to the Daly’s listed number requesting comment on the post were unanswered without an opportunity to leave a message. The Statesman also sent a letter to the Eagle couple’s address listed on the Idaho Secretary of State filings for Cassia Crossing, the name of the company that owns the Glenbrook Apartments. Verity Management did not respond to messages requesting comment.