A Plea To Dallas Leaders For Affordable Housing

DALLAS (CBS11) – 80-year-old Pearlie Mae Brown will soon have to move out of the house she’s lived in for 14 years. “I am worried cause I don’t know where I’m going to go right now.”

But she’s hoping to find another place to live in the West Dallas neighborhood she and her family have called home for generations. “I was born here and all of my people were born here. My children, my grandmother, she was living down the street.”

Brown has rented a house from HMK since 2003, but unlike the landlord’s other tenants, she does not want to buy the house because of her age.

Her daughter Pearline Harper says the process of looking for a new home has taken its toll on her mother.

And so on Monday, when Harper went to address Mayor Mike Rawlings and council members, she was moved to tears. “I believe the city has a duty to find affordable homes that we can live in and with dignity.”

Speaking later at her mother’s house near Singleton Blvd. and Sylvan Ave., an area that has attracted new restaurants, town homes, and apartment complexes, Harper reflected on her emotions. “It just brings back all of the pain.”

Harper says she and her mother have looked several days in the past week for houses Brown could afford, about $450 to $500 per month, without much luck. “All of the places that were suitable, they were too expensive and the ones she could have gotten in, they weren’t better than this.”

Council member Scott Griggs, who chairs the council’s housing committee agrees the city could and should do more to attract affordable housing in West Dallas.

He says the city has a nine-point plan, but is still in the process of figuring out the specific inventory of houses in that area.

Sandy Rollins, the Executive Director of the Texas Tenants’ Union has worked on housing issues in Dallas since 1979, and told council members this is a crisis. “Dallas has a desperate need for affordable housing, rents are out of control.”

As for Pearlie Mae Brown, she says she is trying to stay upbeat. “I’m hoping I have a place to go by the time it comes for me to leave.”

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