Democratic candidate for state Senate hosting Williston forum to discuss high rent issues

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WILLISTON, North Dakota — A Democratic candidate for state Senate is asking city and state officials to meet in Williston this week to discuss increases at two mobile home courts where rent has more than doubled in the last year.

Barb Vondell plans to host the meeting Wednesday at the Williston Community Library, according to the Williston Herald ( ).

Starting June 1, the new owners of FM Trailer Court raised rent $300 to $850, and last October, the new owners of Elm Estates increased the rent from $350 to $750.

Vondell has been protesting on behalf of residents of both mobile home courts since the rent was first increased. She organized the "People of Williston Have Had Enough" group — and its sister group, the "Williams County Housing Association" — to seek ways to help people struggling economically in the region.

A national study from an apartment renting guide recently found that Williston had the highest average rent in the U.S., at nearly $2,400 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. The amount is higher than average rates for New York City's and Los Angeles.

"I'm not necessarily for rent control," Vondell said. "I'm for giving power back to the cities. I want the elderly protected."

Alan Anderson, the commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce, has accepted Vondell's invitation. Williston City Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk has also agreed to come to the meeting.

Information from: Williston Herald,

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