One Rapid City and The West River Housing Coalition fight for fair housing in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The West River Housing coalition and One Rapid City have been working tirelessly to make Rapid City a safe, inclusive, and equitable place for everyone. This weekend the groups joined to hold a tenants organizing meeting to discuss the issues facing tenants, as well as solutions to the problems. A few of the major issues brought up were payment and billing, code violations and safety, harassment and privacy, and Section 8 housing.
One of the coalitions volunteers, Karissa Loewen, said there is strength in numbers and hopes to start more neighborhood coalitions.
“People feel like they get treated differently by landlords, also they have harassment happening by neighbors or others in the area, a neighbor might be calling the landlord on them. We had some situations where neighbors were videotaping people just in their yards. So there’s a lot of harassment going on.”
The coalition is also working to advocate for tenants who may be afraid to speak up for themselves, because of policies and alleged over-charging, and may find themselves without a home. One attendee spoke of an alleged $7,000 late fee that had to be removed from her bill, as well as the lack of landlords itemizing charges and incorrectly charging for repairs.
Ramona Herrington, another volunteer of the West River Housing Coalition and One Rapid City, said,
“The last meeting we had, we had six people, and they all talked about when it became too much with their landlord they all were living in their cars, they were homeless. So it does lead to that.”
The West River Housing Coalition holds meetings every second Sunday at the Rapid City Public Library, and is always looking for new volunteers to help make Rapid City a better place.