skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Despite Improvements, ND's Rental-Aid Issues Persist

play audio
Play

Wednesday, June 15, 2022   

Some North Dakota groups are renewing calls for the state to be more efficient in dispersing emergency pandemic rental aid. They say improvements have been made, but warn people who still need it are going without.

Last fall, North Dakota launched the online component of its Rent Help initiative, which distributes federal assistance for households facing eviction.

Sue Shirek, board chair of the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, said they are still hearing stories about payment delays, in some cases, prompting eviction proceedings. She acknowledged the state has acted on some concerns but thinks it should no longer be a problem.

"This is money that gets put directly in the hands of the landlord, or the utility company," Shirek pointed out. "This should be a program that benefits our state and keeps people housed. And it's just not working the way it should."

She emphasized their feedback is coming from application counselors. The state human services department said it is aware of the lingering frustration and continues to eye system upgrades. It noted the average wait times for calls to the program's contact center are much shorter. So far, North Dakota has distributed more than $42 million in rental aid.

Katie Jo Armbrust, board chair of North Dakota Continuum of Care, said with an undertaking like this, glitches are expected. But she stressed local partners wish there had been more planning to better use their intake systems as the state prepared the online portal with its vendor.

"The system and the infrastructure are certainly there," Armbrust asserted. "I think on our end, there was a little frustration or disappointment that there wasn't a better coordination with the coordinated entry system."

The groups suggest the problems almost defeat the purpose of emergency relief.

Jessica Thomasson, executive policy director for the North Dakota Department of Human Services, contended the system is especially helpful in counties with fewer resources, and countered the state isn't tuning out the feedback.

"We try to learn what we hear from the contact center," Thomasson emphasized. "We try to learn from our community partners if there's confusion."

Thomasson said other improvements include simplifying the email updates for applicants, as well as "how to" videos. After a slow rollout, data show rental-aid distribution has ticked up in recent months.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
Coal production in the Powder River Basin was 50% lower in the first quarter of 2024 than the first quarter of 2014, by about 49 million tons. (Robert Coy/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

A new policy could affect the future of coal mining in the Powder River Basin and in turn, Wyoming's tax structure. The Powder River Basin produced …


Social Issues

play sound

Health care advocates are speaking out against proposed cuts to a California program that provides in-home care aides to low-income seniors and people…

Health and Wellness

play sound

Children's advocates are pressing California lawmakers to pass a bill that would increase oversight on health plans when they deny mental health servi…


Social Issues

play sound

The nonprofit Save the Children is working with child care centers along the Mississippi coast, with plans and tools to help them reopen or resume …

Michigan consistently ranks high as a state for contact volume to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, with the 11th-highest rate in the nation in 2023. (Africa Studio)

Health and Wellness

play sound

Four years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are still studying its effects on society. A new report focusing on domestic …

Environment

play sound

Arizona is already warming up, and a new report sheds light on how climate change is intensifying that heat. Last year, just under 650 heat-…

Social Issues

play sound

Residents of north Texas continue to clean up after the latest in a string of deadly tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service, an EF-2 …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021