Law enforcement responds after Fox Cove neighbors say man serving evictions assaulted resident

BURIEN, Wash. - Law enforcement responded to the Fox Cove apartments in Burien after residents say a man serving eviction papers pushed a resident.

Burien city officials say a new company purchased the Fox Cove apartments in September. Officials with the city say this new company plans to do renovations on the complex. However, that means the people living there all have to move out.

“If they’re going to be that way when they’re serving eviction papers, I don’t want anyone to go through what she went through or I went through,” said Becky Penland.

She says she watched through her open door as a man pushed past her neighbor to serve her Penland an eviction notice.

Penland says she knew the letters would be coming, but she was not ready for them.

“I’m worried I’m going to end up out on the streets,” she said.

About a month ago, Penland says she received notification that she had to be out of her apartment by October 31.

The situation at Fox Cove is complicated.

Penland has lived in the apartment for more than a decade. Before she lived at Fox Cove, she says she was homeless.

Other residents have similar stories.

Penland’s apartment is dilapidated. There are floor tiles peeling off the ground, and Penland says there is even black mold.

Other apartments are in similar disrepair.

However, like other residents who live at Fox Cove, Penland says there are times when she has not paid rent.

The people who live at the complex say for years, this is how things have worked.

“We’re low income,” she said.

A new company has bought the property. City officials say the new company is doing restoration work, but that means Penland and the other 35 families staying at Fox Cove need to leave.

The Burien City Council is trying to help.

On Monday, the council passed an ordinance that will put tens of thousands of dollars through different resources into the issue.

The city plans to contract with Multi-Service Center and provide $8,645 in funding for a half-time employee to assist Fox Cove and Burien residents for the reminder of the year.

The city will contract with MSC and provide $18,000 in funding for 10 hours per week of housing navigator/diversion specialist services for Burien residents in 2019.

The city will also match $9,000 of funds raised by the Ecumenical Circle to assist the residents of the Fox Cove apartments with moving and/or relocation expenses.

But residents wonder at this point if there’s enough time to make a difference.

“We have to be out of here by the 31st of this month," said Penland.

Many livings at the complex, like Penland, have already been looking for new places to live without luck.

Penland says she has medical issues, and her biggest concern is she’ll end up back on the streets.