Leaking faucets, holes in the floor, and rats running across children's feet at night. An apartment manager refusing to start repairs without proof of US citizenship. These are just some of the conditions that leaders of Bachman Lake apartments, like Iris Romo and Ericka Ventura, unearthed in a neighborhood conversation campaign.
When tenant leaders at Lumin Bachman Lake Community School began to share these stories, the city didn't take them seriously. However, Dallas Area Interfaith (DAI) leaders knew that this was unacceptable. After all, they had been instrumental in the development of housing standards that were now being violated. In 2016, DAI had compelled the City of Dallas to impose these standards, and the tenant leaders had been a key part of that effort.
They were not going to be ignored again. On April 18, when a group of north Dallas congregations -- including Temple Shalom, King of Glory, Temple Emanu-El, and Christian Chapel CME -- organized a DAI accountability session. In front of seven city council candidates, Iris Romo from Lumin Bachman Lake Community School shared the stories of the Bachman Lake residents. The candidates were shocked and committed to working with DAI to address the issue.
Councilwoman Janie Schultz followed through on her commitment and reached out to Councilman Omar Narvaez, who had previously refused to meet with DAI. After hearing from Councilwoman Schultz, Councilman Narvaez invited DAI to a meeting with city staff to discuss the issue. City staff finally began to take the issue seriously and have taken concrete steps to clean up the apartments in Bachman Lake.
There is still a long way to go, but the residents of Bachman Lake are on the right path to getting the safe and healthy homes they deserve.
[Photo Credit: Dallas Morning News]
Some Say Dallas Landlords Use This City Policy to Game the System, Dallas Morning News [pdf]
Inquilinos de Dallas Denuncian Malas Condiciones en Viviendas, Telemundo Dallas