MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

August 27, 2013

A.M. UPDATE: Cherokee housing leader named to national committee

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation’s Housing Authority executive director is headed to Colorado this week to give input that could change how tribe’s receive housing grants.

Gary Cooper, 37, of Hulbert, is among 24 tribal representatives nominated to the first Indian Housing Block Grant Allocation Formula Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, according to a media release.

The committee, meeting in Denver on Tuesday and Wednesday, will potentially negotiate changes to the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act funding formula which is currently based on a tribe’s housing assets and its tribal citizenship data. It will be the first of several meetings of the committee as they begin negotiations.

“To be able to sit down and discuss policy that affects Native people with the federal government is not only important for the Cherokee Nation, but all of Indian Country,” Cooper said in the release. “Having a voice in the negotiations ensures funding is reaching areas of the most need and, most importantly, that the Cherokee people’s interests are protected.”

The committee also includes two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development representatives, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs Rodger J. Boyd.

The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation oversees about $28.5 million in NAHASDA programs that aid Cherokee citizens with low-income rental housing, senior housing, rental assistance and more. It also has non-federal programs, including its New Home Construction Program that will build 90 affordable homes for Cherokee families in 2013, and an estimated 300 per year.

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