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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

One Crisis Away No Place To Go: A Look At Life For The Families Already Gone

Courtney Collins
KERA news
An HMK home in West Dallas was bulldozed on Thursday, May 18

For months, residents living in  weathered rent homes in West Dallas were told they had to clear out by early June. That's been the focus of KERA's series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

On Monday, the landlord offered to sell those homes to tenants who are still there and a judge pushed that June 3rd deadline to early October. Despite those developments, most of the families who’d been renting there have already left. 

Not West Dallas

For Rosemary Guerra, home is now Oak Cliff. McAdams Avenue is quiet—not much noise besides the birds and a car cruising by every now and then. She’s likes it— still, it’s no West Dallas.

“Everybody knew everybody. We all got along with each other. You know we never locked our doors, we were always with our windows up.  I never had a key to our house," she says.

After a lifetime in West Dallas, Guerra moved into this rental house in November. She lives with her husband, her brother and her three grown sons. It’s a two-bedroom and there’s a separate back house; one big room with no kitchen or bathroom. 

This house rents for $850 a month. The West Dallas home she rented HMK Ltd was $575. She says coming up with $300 more each month hasn’t been too bad—almost everyone in the house has a job and can chip in. She’s glad she found something even this affordable.

“Around here, there’s a house they want $1,200 down, and $1,200 a month. We were lucky we found this, this is the cheapest one we could find," says.

Getting Used To A Strange Neighborhood

The toughest transition for Guerra? She doesn’t know anyone.

“We were used to being outside in the front. And, you know, we knew who passed by and who didn’t. And you know, here, everybody’s like, they go outside but just to cut their yard and stuff like that," she says. "It’s totally different.”

West Dallas is different now too. It’s not just all the new restaurants and high end apartments going up, it’s the street where Guerra used to live.

“The house on Bayonne, it didn’t last very long, he knocked it down quick," she remarks.

Demolition and construction noise is the new soundtrack of West Dallas. Another vacant HMK home was bulldozed Thursday.

Click here for a look at what life is like for those who've already left West Dallas.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.