A complaint alleges that a woman living in a government-financed Mandan townhome was forced out of her home after having a fifth child.
According to the suit, Shukri Ahmed was told she must vacate the property where she resided for four years because she violated the townhome’s occupancy standards, which limited the number of occupants to five in a three-bedroom unit.
Once Ahmed had her fifth child in October 2020, she exceeded that limit with one adult and five children in the home.
But a suit argues that the owner and operator of the townhome, Affordable Housing Developers, Inc., discriminated against families with children in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.
In order to avoid homelessness, the suit alleges that Ahmed was forced to relocate her family from their three-bedroom Mandan townhome to her cousin’s basement in Fargo.
KX News reached out to attorneys for both sides.
An attorney for the plaintiffs — Ahmed and High Plains Fair Housing Center, Inc. — declined to comment until the case is resolved.
An attorney for the defendant — Affordable Housing Developers, Inc. — did not respond to our repeated messages.
But in a response filed July 22, Affordable Housing Developers, Inc., also known as AHDI, denied any discrimination against families with children and says it did not violate any state or federal laws.
AHDI also stated it did not evict Ahmed, but chose not to renew her lease and says she was already residing in the largest available unit.
AHDI also says it applies the same standards across the board at the property and there are other tenants living at the property that have children.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 1.
We’re also taking a look at the issue of affordable housing in the state.
A study released late last year shows that more than a third of North Dakota’s renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing — which is considered burdensome.
A State of Housing in North Dakota report also found there is a shortage of 13,000 affordable rental units for extremely low-income households, particularly those with large families.
“Our affordable housing inventory is getting older and there’s getting more and more need out there. So we do need to develop a lot more affordable housing or have more affordable housing available for people who aren’t able to pay market rate,” said Dwight Barden, Executive Director of the Burleigh County Housing Authority.
According to the report, 1 in 10 North Dakotans were living at the poverty level before the COVID-19 pandemic.