Proposed HUD Rule Underscores Housing Access Woes in ND
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Public comment is winding down for a proposed federal rule on inclusive affordable housing. Native American voices in North Dakota's capital city hope local leaders take any new directives to heart.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants feedback on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing plan, which requires participants, such as local governments, to be more diligent in eliminating any housing segregation that still exists today.
Cheryl Kary - executive director of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center - said in the Bismarck-Mandan area, such development often excludes low-income residents and people of color.
That makes it harder to access housing that pops up in their neighborhoods.
"And as soon as those units are built, they're filled," said Kary. So, that leaves a lot of people on the streets."
HUD says public comments have to be submitted by April 10.
Bismarck's community development director says in a statement - "Regardless of the rulemaking, the City of Bismarck is locally supportive of efforts to overcome patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, eliminate disparities in opportunities, and foster inclusive communities free from discrimination."
The Sacred Pipe Resource Center's director of community outreach, Brianna Iron Road, said local housing development doesn't take into account the cultural needs of Native populations.
"For instance," said Iron Road, "housing units are getting smaller and as we know, a lot of minority families have larger nuclear families, or it's multi-generational families in one place. "
And she argued that rules, including application requirements for rental units, are stricter for marginalized populations.
Micki Schily is a member of the Center's housing council and has experienced homelessness in recent years due to housing barriers.
She said local governments need to engage more with minority groups when forming development plans.
"If they were actually listening to constituents, we wouldn't need to have these predatory housing forums," said Schily, "we wouldn't need to advocate and put our voices out there."
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