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South Austin tenants aren’t getting evicted but still want answers

Friday, July 30, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Tenants of the Rosemont at Oak Valley apartment complex, who had previously been given abrupt (though now rescinded) notices of their imminent evictions, still have unanswered questions for the Housing Authority of Travis County. Though the Housing Authority has since pledged to assist in smooth transitions for the residents affected by structural damage from the February winter storm (as an alternative to eviction), many tenants are still disturbed by the past month’s events. On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court listened to their testimony.

Kecia Prince, a Rosemont resident and member of the group negotiating with the Housing Authority, indicated her satisfaction with the Housing Authority’s verbal commitments made with residents the previous day. However, like many of the residents still stricken by the prospect of a hurried and involuntary relocation, Prince wanted the promises in writing.

“We want a relocation process company’s professional confidence because the relocation process has been confusing. We feel like we need a professional to provide us with a smooth transition,” Prince said. “We ask for the support of commissioners to make sure that demands are put in writing to provide the funding that’s needed to hire a professional, because it’s a hot mess. Everybody’s stressed out. It gets worse every day. We’ve been through too much for too long.”

“We want a relocation specialist because our families have been through enough,” resident Keisha Williams said. “We would like to ask you to put it in writing so that we will all be safe.”

Williams thanked Patrick Howard, executive director of the Housing Authority, for making good on some of the promises made during court sessions over the past few weeks.

Erica Cervantes, another resident speaking through a translator, echoed many of the other residents’ sentiments.

“Yesterday we had a discussion that I think was pretty favorable, yet we still felt in limbo because we still don’t have any offers,” Cervantes said. “But we still put our trust in Patrick and we hope to hear something from him soon. We are asking the commissioners to help us.”

Cervantes also called on commissioners to support residents to find the funding for relocation services.

Commissioners brought the item into executive session for further discussion.

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