As COVID-19 continues to spread within North Dakota communities, it’s not just concerns about health that have some North Dakotans worried. Housing is also a major issue – particularly for those whose income has been impacted because of involuntary unemployment, extended sickness or required quarantine.
The ACLU of North Dakota is asking the state to do more to protect the health and safety of all North Dakotans and is calling for Gov. Doug Burgum to order a temporary eviction moratorium in the state.
“Providing a temporary moratorium on eviction actions would allow people to remain stably housed as they safeguard their health and the health of their families and other North Dakotans,” said Dane DeKrey, advocacy director for the ACLU of North Dakota. “This is the right thing for Gov. Burgum to do and would be a vital tool to keep North Dakotans in their homes and to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 in our state.”
Gov. Burgum signed an executive order on March 13 relaxing or suspending requirements for North Dakota residents to file for unemployment insurance benefits. North Dakota officials expect to see unemployment claims continue to rise.
North Dakota would not be the first to place a moratorium on evictions. Multiple other states, counties, cities and judicial districts across the country also have issued directives to suspend evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.
About the ACLU of North Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.