Future for evicted West Dallas tenants still unclear

The city of Dallas has a new partner to help assess the needs of West Dallas tenants who will be evicted from their homes at the end of the school year.

However, the landlord at the center of it all says he had an affordable housing solution, but the city won't hear him out.

Things have been turbulent between the landlord, HMK, and the city. In November, they struck a deal for tenants to stay in their homes until early June. But now, it appears things have hit a sour note once again, leaving tenants wondering if they'll end up collateral damage.

HMK Landlord Khraish Khraish appears to be at odds with the city once again. He attended a city press conference on Monday to offer his take on what's going on.

“The mayor will not meet with me,” Khraish said. “He thinks that I am asking for favors. I am not asking for favors, I am asking for a conversation.”

City leaders were there to announce a partnership with Catholic Charities of Dallas to conduct a door-to-door survey to assess residents' needs.

“So a sense of urgency for everybody to come together, get this information, get the plans, get the money and get it done,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

But some, like Khraish, question why more assessment is warranted when a lack of affordable housing seems to be the issue.

Khraish says he's got a plan but the city won't listen. It entails selling 130 properties to Habitat for Humanity, a deal Habitat confirms.

“That is something that he wants to discuss, that we've told them in many instances that he needs to get his lawyers to talk to our lawyers,” said Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo.

The city does say Khraish is welcome to sell his properties to Habitat or current renters but legally cannot make zoning changes to benefit himself in exchange for any deals.

Edna Del Torro says her eviction notice arrived about 6 months after her family moved into their HMK home last year and says there's no other affordable housing. Now, she's expecting the arrival of her second child as the June deadline closes in.

“They really don't have a plan for what they are going to do or help,” Del Torro said. “So it's just basically wasting your time.”

Khraish says he's willing to allow tenants as much time as they need as long as the city doesn't enforce housing code during that time.

Catholic Charities says their plan is to have the surveys done by the end of March 1. The city will then have to determine how much affordable housing is needed and if it's available in time.

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