BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) —  With the COVID pandemic not letting up and an increase in price affecting homeowners across the entire county, many people are feeling the brunt of the housing bubble — and these issues compounding on other problems facing the North Dakota Native American population.

To bring attention to the concerns they have and need to share with the community, the Sacred Pipe Resource Center (a nonprofit organization in Mandan) will be hosting community forums to call attention to the housing issues that Native Americans and other marginalized groups face. The forums were created in partnership with the Community Council — a community-based group that works to address issues that impact the Native American Communities in Bismarck, Mandan, and Lincoln.

In a press release, Cheryl Kary, Executive Director of the SPRC states the council was born out of a sense of powerlessness and inaction from the government.

“We hear so many terrible stories about community members becoming homeless, being charged with outrageous fees,” says Kary, “in addition to not having options when it comes to housing, and just the fact that housing is becoming less of a human right and more of a predatory practice.”

The first forum will be held on Friday, June 24, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Bismarck Event Center’s Prairie Room 101. The event is free and open to the public. Two more forums in the series will be held on August 16 and October 18.

Organizers hope that the forum will help change the situation for Native tenants, work to find solutions, and call attention to the needs of all community members who they consider to be forgotten by the housing system.

” The impact of COVID has not abated,” says Crowghost, “and the economy is definitely not helping; some people are working 40+ hours a week just to keep a roof over their head and then becoming homeless if one little thing falls out of line. We want people to know they’re not alone.”