Denton man cited for turning home into homeless refuge

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 11:52 PM

DENTON — A Denton man who is helping the homeless by letting them rent his house at a cheap price is violating city guidelines.

Some of his neighbors complained, prompting a visit from code enforcers who discovered eight people living in the residence.

The case could lead to changes in Denton's housing policy.

John Porter lived on Denton streets for four months. Now, he is one of eight homeless men who rent the house on the city's southeast side.

All of them work. They pay just $40 a month to live here.

"It makes it affordable for me and some other folks to be able to get off the streets and just have a roof over your heads," said Porter, who lived on Denton streets for four months before moving in.

Alfred Sanchez offered his house to homeless workers after hearing about their living conditions. "He was telling me it was like 15 to 20 guys in one room in whatever house and wherever they could find a place to live," Sanchez said.

The men have been living in Sanchez' house for a year without incident. But at a recent neighborhood association meeting, a few residents complained.

When code enforcement officers discovered eight people living there, they cited Sanchez. The city only permits four unrelated people per single-family house.

"I understand where the city's coming from, but I think there's a place we have to have in our heart," Sanchez said. "These people are down-and-out."

Sanchez could ask for a zoning change, but he knows it would have little chance of passing. Most of his neighbors told News 8, however, that they support his efforts.

"He's doing a good deed to help someone else get on their feet," Jesus Martinez said. "Why not?"

Sanchez said he will move four tenants to another house he owns before the city's November 1 deadline.

Denton City Council members will look at possible exceptions to city occupancy rules in cases where neighbors approve.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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