Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and city council members were confronted by frustrated and anxious West Dallas residents on the brink of eviction during Wednesday’s council meeting.
About 50 tenants along with the Texas Organizing Project showed up to let council members know they want to stay in their neighborhood.
The city and attorneys for HMK Properties are in talks to try to delay the eviction of about 300 families. Tenants received eviction notices from HMK after the city tightened housing ordinances.
“The hardest thing for me is seeing my mom stress so much about where we are going to live,” said Yamilet Perrerra, 17, who is facing eviction.
Perrerra addressed Mayor Mike Rawlings specifically. The Pinkston High School senior met the mayor last year as part of the Mayor’s Summer Internship Program.
“I still remember going home and telling my mom I met the mayor,” Perrerra said.
Now she and her single mom are one of the families facing eviction without the means to find other housing.
“I've heard a lot about Mike Rawlings so I was like he's supposed to be helping us, you know, and how come he's not doing anything now,” Perrerra said.
Perrerra asked for the mayor to meet with her and her mother to hear their story. Mayor Mike Rawlings accepted.
City attorneys are currently in talks with landlord HMK properties, owned by Khraish Khraish and his father.
“We are making sure that they live in safe houses and I think Mr. Khraish wants that as well. Two, we need to honor his property rights to do what he needs to do, and three, if there's going to be a transition that it takes place over a period of time so kinds aren't pulled out of school,” Rawlings said.
The Texas Organizing Project rallied tenants for the meeting, with a long term goal of home ownership. TOP says tenants are being left out of important and potentially life-changing discussions currently held between the city and HMK properties.
“These are solutions that are being talked about without these tenants at the table so we definitely want to be part of those discussions,” said TOP’s David Villalobos.