City intervention team visits families facing mass eviction

DALLAS - Some city leaders are rushing to figure out how to help hundreds of families who have been told they’re being evicted from their homes.

The impacted families are tenants of Dallas-based landlord HMK Limited. Many of them say they are struggling to find a place to live.

“Can we talk to you for a minute,” Dallas Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold said as she visited HMK tenants in District 4. ‘‘We’re out here looking for properties that are owned by HMK.”

Arnold was busy hitting the streets on Monday. She and a team from the city’s housing, code, and police intervention offices were going door-to-door, trying to assess the tenants’ needs.

“It seems like we have about 100 properties in District 4,” Arnold said.

The group is meeting with tenants, days after the controversial landlord put the city on notice it would be evicting more than 300 families from its properties.

Elizabeth Fonseca’s mother lived in one of the HMK homes. “Everybody was pretty much told the same thing… to buy it or move,” she said.

Arnold and the team said they are finding each tenant is being told a different story from their landlord.

“I’m trying to buy my house, and I’m not trying to get put out and not have no place to go,” said one woman who did not want to be identified.

Some families say they have been offered a chance to buy their admittedly rundown homes from the landlord for more than what they are worth.

Some are so worried about retaliation from their landlord, they did not want to give too many details to the city intervention team.

“Well when I first heard about it, it was maddening,” said Arnold. “I just could not believe that we would displace that number of people with just one swoosh.”

HMK Limited has yet to respond to requests for comments. The eviction notices came after the city tightened restrictions requiring landlords to keep up minimum standards.

“It is to me, tantamount to an emergency crisis,” Arnold said.

The city intervention team says figuring out the needs of each family is crucial. They say it is important, knowing housing options around the city are limited and rental rates are increasing along with demand.

”I don’t know what they would do,” Fonseca said about her family.

It is a reality that is leaving hundreds of families with only a few weeks to figure out their future plans.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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