Karen S. Elliott, Minot Air Force Base
Dear Mayor, Governor, Congressman, Senator
Since I get a form response to each of my letters, here is my form letter.
I am a single mother, young married couple, grandmother, or airman living in Minot. Or rather, I'd like to live in Minot, but I have to commute from Rugby, Garrison, Burlington or Bismarck.
Since the flood in June of 2011, I have lived in numerous hotels, with friends, with family, or in a FEMA trailer, because I cannot find an apartment, house, room above a barn or a heated garage that I can afford.
I know all you local government guys are busy negotiating with Canada, trying to rebuild infrastructure, deciding whose homes to tear down, deciding where to put levees. And you guys in Washington are arguing with the Democrats, arguing with the Republicans, or arguing with your dry cleaner.
But here we sit, still homeless in Minot, because the "community that cares" seems to stop at the doors of the apartment managers, property managers and rental property owners who are gouging prices. What used to rent for an affordable price is now $1,440, $1,795, $2,695 or $3,000 a month.
That might be affordable to attorneys, bank CEOs, doctors or car dealership owners, but it is not affordable to students, grandmothers, teachers or those that work at McDonald's, Burger King, Wal-mart, or Menard's.
Any apartment or home worth living in has been snatched up with corporate dollars from the oil fields, construction fields or FEMA management teams.
I want to stay in Minot because my family is here, I grew up here, I followed my Air Force grandsons here, or my job is here.
I have asked FEMA, the Minot Housing Authority, Project Renew and the Resource Agency Flood Team for help in finding affordable housing. None of these organizations is any help to someone just trying to find an affordable home.
Eight months after the flood, my life is still in upheaval because most of my belongings were washed away, are sitting in a storage unit, are sitting in my son's garage, or are stacked in a friend's living room.
Please don't send me another form letter. I already have enough form letters to choke a spring heifer, a N.D. grouse or pheasant, or a market hog.
A wage earner, a struggling freelance business owner, your server at Perkins, the lady that fixes your non-fat, half-caff, mocha latte every morning.