, Muskogee, OK

August 1, 2009

Stimulus money to help Native American housing efforts

By Cathy Spaulding

The Cherokee Nation and Muscogee Creek Nation each received $5 million in housing grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The grants are part of a $26.8 million package to improve native housing, spur jobs and boost energy efficiency for nine Oklahoma tribes. Funding will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly called the Stimulus Package.

“Today we make another investment in the economic recovery of our communities and neighborhoods, specifically those of our nation’s first Americans, said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The Cherokee and Creek grants are Native American Housing Block Grants, which are used to build new housing, to buy land for new housing, or to rehabilitate existing housing.

Marvin Jones, Cherokee Nation manager of housing oversight, said he believes the tribe’s grant will go for proposed housing sites near Gore and Stilwell.

He said the Cherokee Nation plans to build 15 low-income housing units on 193 acres in the Redbird community northeast of Gore.

“We’re going to be building infrastructure in the Redbird area,” he said, adding that the grant will pay for houses as well as the infrastructure.

The other project is for infrastructure for a proposed development on 190 acres in the Fairfield area a few miles north of Stilwell, he said.

Details on the Creek Nation grant were not available, though a Creek Nation spokesman confirmed it is for housing for the elderly at various sites.

Other tribes receiving housing grants are the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribe, $3 million; Citizen Potawatomi Nation, $2.7 million; the Peoria Housing Authority in Miami, $2 million and the Seminole Nation, $2 million.

A little more than $1.7 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants will go to the Ottawa Tribe, the Seneca Cayuga Tribe and the Pawnee Nation.