Dozens of people wearing “I Heart West Dallas” t-shirts packed a Dallas County courtroom Friday hoping for good news about their rental homes—which are scheduled to close in less than a month.
It's the focus of KERA's series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.
As it stands now, residents living in rental homes owned by HMK Ltd must be out early June. The homes are no longer up to code and the City of Dallas agreed not to fine the landlord for violations through the end of the school year.
'Running In The Streets'
About 110 families remain, and because many pay $300-$500 a month in rent, they don’t know where to go.
“People are going to be running in the streets. Literally going to be taken out of their house. They’re going to see people out on the streets with their children and everything," says tenant Joe Garcia.
He was in the courtroom gallery Friday with his mom, hoping for more time.
HMK Ltd has asked that a temporary injunction, currently set to expire June 3, be extended for a year, so HMK could develop affordable housing nearby.
Melissa Miles, an attorney for the city of Dallas, said during Friday’s hearing she didn’t have the authority to grant more time. She says this hearing wasn’t about extending the injunction—it was about delaying the trial date for a lawsuit against HMK. Some tenants are suing over poor living conditions.
“This hearing was supposed to be just about the continuation of the trial setting, which we weren’t opposed to. Nothing else was officially set for this hearing," Miles says.
A Week To Agree
Dallas County District Judge Ken Molberg has asked both sides to try and agree on the extension by next Friday.
Khraish Khraish is co-owner of HMK and was hoping for resolution Friday.
“I have to express a little bit of disappointment. I thought we would be able to secure an extension for the tenants who are sitting in limbo and very uncomfortable in this position," he says.
A place they’ll have to remain for another week.