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Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

A group of Dallas renters in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood have gotten some good news: After they spoke up, the Dallas school district agreed to pay them four times as much money as originally offered to help them move out. The district plans to tear down their apartment complex and build a school there.

Michael Zanussi / Flickr Creative Commons

People leaving California for cheaper homes in Texas isn’t a new story, but new numbers show Dallas as a top destination for these West Coast transplants.

Fair housing advocates are suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to compel it to follow a rule meant to help prevent segregation and comply with the Fair Housing Act. The suit, which also names HUD Secretary Ben Carson, was filed Tuesday morning.

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Since the recession of 2008, and the housing market crash, fewer Americans are able to purchase a home. And a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts finds that since then, many families have become "rent burdened" and struggle to pay the bills. 

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wants Americans living on housing assistance to put more of their income toward rent and he wants to give public housing authorities the ability to impose work requirements on tenants.

Under current law, most tenants who get federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, and the government kicks in the rest up to a certain amount.

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It's been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law. It's designed to protect people from discrimination as they try to get a home loan, buy a house, or rent.

Peniel Joseph with the School of Public Affairs at UT Austin says its legacy has been a mixed bag. He talked with David Brown, host of Texas Standard. 

For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute.

"Eviction isn't just a condition of poverty; it's a cause of poverty," Desmond says. "Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability."

If you’re a renter in Texas and you fail to pay your rent, your landlord may have the legal right to enter your home and take your belongings. The clause, called a landlord’s lien, is standard language in many residential leases, but it can also apply to stores and restaurants that fall behind on rent.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

The North Park Terrace Apartments in Vickery Meadow has been a bit of a ghost town for the past few months. Tenants of the 300-unit complex began moving out in October when they were told that the Dallas Independent School District had purchased the property as part of a 2015 bond package and would be building a new elementary school.

Apartment building under construction
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More apartments were completed in the Dallas area last year than any other major metro in the country.

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax is now in his second year on the job. In his first 12 months, the city passed a billion-dollar bond package, killed the controversial Trinity Parkway project, hired a new police chief, and replaced some of the city's top brass. 

Three months after the Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the Texas Coastal Bend is still far from back to normal. The Category 4 storm delivered winds of 130 miles-per-hour that battered Aransas County communities, and many residents there are still without housing.


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According to the latest numbers, North Texas housing prices are up 8 percent over last year. That sounds like great news for home builders. Yet, Phil Crone of the Dallas Builders Association went to the nation’s capital last month to make a desperate plea for immigration reform.

Allison V. Smith / KERA News Special Contributor

It’s getting harder for people in Dallas-Fort Worth and other big cities in Texas to find affordable homes or apartments because the cost of housing is outpacing salaries.

That’s according to a new report from Harvard University.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Every Wednesday, nearly two dozen people cram into a small office in Dallas to listen to Yasmin Thomas talk about leases.

Allison V. Smith / KERA News special contributor

Residents facing eviction from homes in West Dallas and other rapidly gentrifying areas could receive rental assistance from the city after officials recently identified $1 million in federal funds.

This may be the most anxious time of year for affordable-housing developers in Texas. In a few weeks, they'll find out whether their applications for low-income housing tax credits have been approved, and the decision could spell life or death for their proposed projects.

On the south side of Dallas, Nena Eldridge lives in a sparse but spotless bungalow on a dusty lot. At $550 each month, her rent is just about the cheapest she could find in the city.

After an injury left her unable to work, the only income she receives is a $780 monthly disability check. So she has to make tough financial choices, like living without running water.

Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary is spending some time in North Texas. Ben Carson is on a multi-city listening tour to hear from people who rely on public housing.

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Across the United States, there isn't enough affordable housing for those who need it-- only 35 affordable rental homes for every 100 poor families, and the situation is worse in North Texas. That’s according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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Combine a strong local economy that’s attracting new residents from other states with a shortage of homes for sale -- and that means housing prices are going up across North Texas.

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Apartment rents in North Texas continue to rise, outpacing many cities across the country but still remaining slightly below the national average. One reason Dallas-Fort has seen increasingly higher rents — more people are moving here to start or develop their professional lives. 

Courtesy of Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance

In January, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance led its annual homeless count. The final numbers aren't in, but advocates say they expect the numbers should be similar to last year’s – including the fact that in Dallas, the homeless population is disproportionately black.

HUD Gives Dallas Deadline To Prove Millions Were Properly Spent

Nov 10, 2016
Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

Federal officials are giving Dallas City Hall until the end of the month to produce documents proving the city properly spent $29.9 million on 54 affordable housing projects, according to a U.S. Housing and Urban Development letter obtained by The Texas Tribune.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Families in West Dallas living in rental houses slated for closure will be allowed to stay in their homes until the end of the school year.

HMK Limited owns 305 inexpensive rental homes that don’t meet city code. Instead of repairing all the houses to bring them to standard, owner Khraish Khraish opted to close his rental business and have tenants vacate. 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

What happens when 300 families lose their housing all at once? That’s playing out in West Dallas, a longtime black and Latino neighborhood that’s rapidly gentrifying.

The City Council passed new housing standards in September. One landlord is now closing his rental home business because hundreds of his homes aren’t up to code.

HUD Wants Documentation On How Dallas Handled Federal Housing Funds

Oct 31, 2016
Laura Buckman for The Texas Tribune

A U.S. housing official wants to know more about how Dallas City Hall chose and oversaw scores of federally subsidized developments after an internal audit found the city lacks enough documentation to ensure the projects were properly monitored and their construction costs were reasonable.

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Texans are struggling to pay for housing, despite the state’s reputation as an affordable place to live. Almost half of renters are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Dallas Judge Temporarily Halts Mass Eviction

Oct 11, 2016
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

State District Judge Ken Molberg on Tuesday ordered a Dallas landlord to temporarily halt the abrupt mass closure of hundreds of rental houses in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

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