STATEMENT: TOP members pleased with extension to stay in their West Dallas homes, but will still hold City, HMK accountable for working with tenants for a long-term solution
The following is a statement by Ashton Elder, a Texas Organizing Project (TOP) leader and West Dallas HMK tenant, in response to the agreement reached last night by the City of Dallas and HMK Ltd.:
“First, this agreement provides much-needed relief to my family and others after weeks spent worrying about simply having a roof over our heads. The fact that my neighbors all came together, organized and stood up to HMK and the City is a significant win for our community. I know that nobody gave us this relief. We had to organize and fight for it.
“However, we all must also recognize that this agreement between the City and HMK is not the long-term solution that our community needs; it is a band-aid. There is still plenty of work that needs to be done.
“For instance, it is upsetting to hear that our landlord, HMK Ltd., does not intend to make any meaningful repairs to our houses that make them livable. Also, while the City of Dallas took a step in the right direction by raising standards for rental properties, it can’t just step back and try to wash their hands of this situation.
“We need the City to find money for relocation assistance and for temporary repair of our homes. While the pressure cooker has been relieved some, we don’t want to wait until the eleventh hour to figure out where the people who want to continue to rent will be living next. Let’s get ahead of the curb.
“For others, like my family who want to be on the pathway to homeownership in West Dallas, we are encouraged by our productive meeting with Mayor Rawlings, and the City’s commitment to play an important role in helping us purchase our homes. Our fight continues. It is far from over.”
The Texas Organizing Project (TOP), a membership-based organization, works to build power through community organizing and civic engagement. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.