New Details Emerge in Fight to Keep HMK Tenants in Their Homes

The city of Dallas will partner with a local non-profit group to assess the needs of hundreds of low-income West Dallas tenants who could be forced to leave their homes in June.

The city confirmed details of the plan to NBC 5 on Friday.

The plan calls for volunteers to survey the residents' financial and medical needs – among other things – to better understand the resources they need to stay in their homes or find a new place to live.

Barring an extension, tenants have until June 3 to buy their homes from their current landlord, HMK Ltd., or move out.

"I think the plan was a little late in coming. We have already lost a lot of families," said Stephanie Hanson, an HMK tenant living on disability. "The best scenario is for them not to be displaced out of the neighborhood, for their kids to continue in the schools."

HMK announced last year that it was pulling more than 300 of its properties off the rental market after a dispute with the city over new minimum housing standards.

HMK has put out a detailed, long-term plan to bring affordable housing to West Dallas, but the company has not responded to questions from NBC 5 about its plans to help residents who cannot afford to buy their homes.

In its plan HMK said it wants the city of Dallas to help acquire federal funding for multiple projects.

The city has told the company's executive, Khraish Khraish, that HMK is free to do what it wants with its property and does not need the city's help to apply for federal funding for affordable housing projects.

As the two sides continue their stalemate, community advocates like Alex Garcia are on the ground in the community making sure tenants understand their rights. He said some families have already given up and left. Others do not trust the city or HMK.

"You have to be transparent. They've got know that you are for real. You've got to know how to communicate, because they don't know whats going on," he said. "What's lacking right now is empowerment."

Next week, city leaders will meet with tenants and community advocates to discuss the plan. An official announcement is expected by February.

As an Army veteran, Hanson is already planning for the future, whether it's in West Dallas or somewhere else.

"I got plan A, B, and C. Sometimes I just think about moving into an Inwood Suites, taking a few months to regroup," she said, chuckling. "That might be a good avenue."

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