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Coalition Urges ND Governor to Suspend Evictions During Pandemic

Some states, including Minnesota, already have enacted temporary suspensions of evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. Groups now are asking North Dakota's governor to follow suit. (Adobe Stock)
Some states, including Minnesota, already have enacted temporary suspensions of evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. Groups now are asking North Dakota's governor to follow suit. (Adobe Stock)
April 1, 2020

FARGO, N.D. -- Rent and mortgage payments are due for many North Dakotans this week, and for those who've lost jobs as a result of the pandemic, those payments will be hard to make. A coalition is urging Gov. Doug Burgum to step in.

A wide range of groups, including the North Dakota AFL-CIO, is asking the Republican governor to temporarily suspend evictions and foreclosures. Andrea Olson, executive director of Community Action Partnership of North Dakota, said aid groups won't be able to lessen the impact by themselves.

"We're doing all that we can to address these needs," she said, "but it's not realistic that we're going to be able to assume all of the burden and help everybody that's going to need help."

Burgum hasn't stated opposition to the plan, saying his office still is weighing how to respond to this component of the crisis. He suggested that a mix of state and federal relief could be sufficient for now. The coalition also wants the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures to run for 90 days after the official end of the pandemic, whenever that is declared.

Pastor Joe Larson of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Fargo, said leaving the window open for people to be forced out of their homes will create even more problems during the crisis.

"Today, people are facing getting sick, becoming unemployed and social isolation," he said. "We need to keep these people in the places where they are living -- for their own good, and for the good of our community and state."

Landis Larson, North Dakota AFL-CIO president, added that with more and more workers being laid off or having their hours reduced, urgent action is needed.

"We'd like to see an executive order from Gov. Burgum that will help out regular working families stay in their homes and give them some peace of mind," Larson said.

The pressure for Burgum to act comes as North Dakota, like other states, continues to see a spike in jobless claims. The state announced this week it has received about 21,000 claims in the past two weeks, which is more than all of last year.

Disclosure: North Dakota AFL-CIO contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - ND