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Elderly Tenants Evicted to Make Room for Homeless

August 9, 1995

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ An 86-year-old widow who has lived in the same apartment for 27 years is being evicted _ to make room for the homeless.

``I pay my rent, don’t have no parties. I just want to live here,″ said Violet Williams, who received notice that she has to leave by Oct. 1.

``We’re not excited or happy about this, but we simply need to move ahead with our plans,″ said Julie Rohlfing, spokeswoman for the City Union Mission. The group is converting the building to housing for homeless men who have graduated from its quasi-religious program.

The charity has given Mrs. Williams and the building’s only other tenant, Bob Dodson, 71, until October to move out. It also has offered to help them find new apartments and pay their moving costs, but with the shortage of affordable housing, 90 days may not be enough.

Mrs. Williams never learned to drive, shops only in her neighborhood and leaves the building only to visit the hairdresser six blocks away. She also has a dog that’s been her only companion since her husband died in 1989.

Her niece, Debra Chrisman, said her aunt cannot handle the change.

``This move is going to kill her,″ said Chrisman. ``I’ve seen too many people put their folks in a retirement facility and they live only six months or a year.″

The eviction notices were issued a month ago, but Rohlfing said that City Union Mission had warned both Mrs. Williams and Dodson more than a year ago that they eventually would have to leave.