GRAND FORKS — With widespread layoffs due to coronavirus outbreak-related cancellations and business closures, a Grand Forks nonprofit is working to ensure area residents remain in their homes.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported a record number of more than 3 million unemployment claims as Thursday, March 26.

While people remain unemployed, High Plains Fair Housing — an organization working to ensure equal access to fair housing in the region through training, education, enforcement, and advocacy — wants to keep as many people in their homes as possible.

The organization advocates for a stay on evictions and fees for late rent payments. In addition, the staff at High Plains Fair Housing is asking North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum to set aside funds to move those experiencing homelessness into housing, and stop the spread of coronavirus among the homeless population.

To help to communicate the importance of these policy changes, High Plains Fair Housing asks any person who has been or could be evicted to share their story.

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"Our thought is if we can really humanize the situations right now, and have illustrations of what's going on for people at this moment, that'll help us in advocating," said Angela Urlacher, a fair housing specialist.

Anyone living in the state of North Dakota can call 701-732-0436 for help.