End of eviction moratorium is near, but there’s still help in North Dakota

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In a little over a week, the eviction moratorium that was put into place during the pandemic will be expiring and some people are concerned as the effects of the pandemic are still being felt.

The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone in one way or another, including being able to pay their rent.

Missouri Slope Areawide United Way says one issue they are seeing is housing.

“There’s housing available, but the pricing is not affordable for what we’re looking for, for our clients. We were recently able to help someone get into a 1 bedroom apartment. Rent is $700 dollars and the utility. Excuse me! The security deposit was $500 dollars,” explained Jena Gullo, the executive director for Missouri Slope Areawide United Way.

Gullo says during the pandemic the shelter saw an increase in people.

This lead the organization to help people get into more permanent housing.

“We’ve recently hired a case manager and a housing navigator. They’re able to quickly try to find housing that’s suitable for that person. And then help that person maintain their housing for the next 6 months. By linking them to services. Helping them get a job. Helping link them to job service. Etc.,” explained Gullo.

Through multiple COVID relief packages, North Dakota as a state was awarded more than 350 million dollars to help renters and housing providers, leading to programs like North Dakota Rent Help.

“So we could help with the financial parts that are associated with a persons housing. And the goal there again is to help households that are struggling to make ends meet have that part of their budget have some additional assistance. So they don’t lose their housing,” explained Jessica Thomasson, the executive policy director for the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

The department says through the North Dakota Rent Help program they also are providing resources to ensure people have housing stability moving forward.

“Community partners who will be working on behalf of the state in communities all over North Dakota to help renters kind of make a plan and figure out what they may be able to do you know to help the future look brighter than the past ones have,” explained Thomasson.

Since the eviction moratorium was put into place evictions ending in judgment decreased by 15 percent across the state. In 2019 they saw a little over 2,000, but that dropped down to a little over 1,700 in 2020.

The department says financial assistance is available and more people should apply for the help.

They say the money is not running out and will be available for a few years.

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