HMK tenants still worried about West Dallas evictions

DALLAS – Pearlie Mae Brown shuffles her frail frame to the wire fence at the edge of her front yard.

They say home is where the heart is. But for this 81-year-old in West Dallas, it’s also where the heartache is.

“It just hurts me when I think about it,” she said, wiping away tears. “It hurts.”

She is one of the 300 tenants on the verge of being ki1cked out of her home by HMK Ltd. after the city strengthened housing standards. After months of back-and-forth, her landlord, Khraish Khraish with HMK Ltd., announced earlier this week he would be selling the rentals to tenants in good standing for $65,000.

But not everyone is eligible. And not everyone can afford it.

Wednesday morning, Pearlie Mae’s daughter pleaded with city council members for help. She said her mother has nowhere else to go.

“I don’t know how much more she can take or I can take,” Pearline Harper told council members. “Mayor Rawlings, please help us find a solution.”

David Villalobos with the Texas Organizing Project, a non-profit that promotes social and economic equality, said the new deal is no good. He also attended Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This is not a universal solution for all tenants and their families,” he said following the meeting. “There are still people who are going to be left behind and we must find a solution for every last family.”

While the housing debate continues, Pearlie Mae’s dilapidated house is still riddled with problems such as needing to use a knife to open her back door, multiple non-working electrical outlets and a roach infestation, that she would inherit if she purchased the home.

“We have eight generations of family in the neighborhood. Eight generations. And she don’t want to leave,” Pearline said. It’s really hard for me to come down here and see her like this.”

The city council did not make decisions today – instead they just listened, leaving Pearlie Mae, and other residents, still in limbo.

“I just hate to have to move that’s all,” she said. “This is home.”

This story originally appeared 5/24/2017 on WFAA.