In one West Dallas neighborhood, hundreds of families face a June 3 deadline to move out of their houses. They rent inexpensive homes from a company called HMK Ltd. It says it can’t afford to repair these deteriorating houses because of tougher city codes.
After getting eviction notices last fall, many of the 305 families in the neighborhood have left. Some of the community’s oldest residents, however, are staying until the very end.
Pearlie Mae Brown, a West Dallas native, turns 81 in June. That’s the same month she’s been told to leave her home. And possibly, the only neighborhood she’s ever known.
“I like my little house,” she says. “I would like to stay in the neighborhood.”
She leans against a chain-link fence, where clothes are draped to dry, and she looks at her small yellow house with chipping paint. Over her shoulder, new apartments are going up a couple of blocks away.
There are tears in her eyes.
“This is my life, and I don’t want it to be taken away from me,” she says.
Jessica Diaz- Hurtado is an NPR Kroc Fellow. As part of her fellowship, she’s spending several months reporting at KERA.