Deal to keep West Dallas tenants in homes through June 2017

Families in West Dallas who are facing eviction now have will get to stay in their homes through June 2017 after a deal was struck between the city and the landlord.

The City Of Dallas and HMK agreed to keep tenants in their homes until June 3, 2017 -- or the end of the current school year -- whichever is later. HMK did not agree to make any home repairs, no matter how bad the homes may get.

"Our intentions in working with HMK over the past 18 months have been about one thing and one thing only: providing safe and decent living conditions for the hundreds of families and children that live in HMK homes in West Dallas and southern Dallas. Mr. Khraish has insisted that he cares deeply about the welfare of his residents. We take him at his word,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo and Council Member Carolyn Arnold in a joint statement.

Tenants breathed a sigh of relief after they got at least another seven months to get their affairs in order before they are evicted from their homes. Some residents said getting more time was a small victory but still have a long road ahead to keep a roof over their heads.     

For the last month, Pearlie Mae Brown didn't know if she was going to have a place to stay for much longer. She and about 300 other residents were served eviction notices from the landlords at HMK Limited to be out by the end of the month. The thought was constantly looming over her head.

Brown was relieved when she heard about the deal the city struck with her landlord on Friday. The temporary solution comes after legal challenges by the city and weeks of talks between Dallas leaders and HMK after the city approved tougher renting ordinances. The landlord refused to meet them and moved forward to evict more than 300 residents instead.

Ashton Elder with the Texas Organizing Project says the extra time will get them through until they can find a more permanent solution.

“We're moving in the right direction. We're just trying to listen to each party and be seated at the table as much as possible to be in on the decisions being made,” Elder said. Right now, just to get us through the holidays and at least the beginning of the year is a great relief.”

Elder says she's fighting to try and buy her home so she can stay. But others like Brown are using the time to find a new place they can afford in the same neighborhood they've always known.

“I'll just be glad when it's over with,” Brown said.

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