By Jack Fink


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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  Missing part of her morning classes Wednesday, 17-year-old Yamilet Pereira was getting a real life civics lesson, one she hopes will help her stay in her home.  “I came today to ask you to please meet with our family.”

Pereira came to the Dallas city council meeting to speak with Mayor Mike Rawlings on behalf of her single mother, who she says can’t afford to miss a day of work.

They’re hoping to stay in their West Dallas home, after receiving a notice to vacate from their landlord, HMK Limited.

“The hardest thing for me is seeing my mom worrying about where we’re going to live.  I honestly don’t know how we’ll get through this one.  I’ve been going to school every day with knots in my stomach,” Pereira told the council.

They are not alone. More than 300 families who rent from HMK, received notices last month that they’ll have to move out by the end of this month.

Mayor Rawlings says, “I empathize with them.”

The city has taken the company to court over alleged sub-standard conditions, and a judge this week extended his prior restraining order blocking HMK from beginning evictions until November 7th.

Rawlings says the city is working with HMK to delay moving residents.  “We have to make sure if there is going to be a transition, that it takes place over a period of time so kids aren’t pulled out of school.”

As for Yamilet Pereira, she told the Mayor, “I want to believe you will do everything you can to keep us in our home.” He responded, “You speak the truth, and I’ll be glad to meet with you and your mother, ok?”

No word yet when their meeting will take place.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Khraish Khraish of HMK said his goal is to keep families who’ve paid their rent on time in their homes until the end of the school year.

He said only those families who haven’t paid their rent will face eviction.

Some residents though have said HMK hasn’t accepted rent payments this month.

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