Cherokee councilors OK initial 2018 Indian Housing Plan

BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
07/13/2017 01:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Tribal Councilor Jack Back reads a resolution during the July 10 Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. During the meeting, legislators approved the Cherokee Nation’s fiscal year 2018 Indian Housing Plan submission to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its July 10 meeting, Tribal Councilors approved the Cherokee Nation’s fiscal year 2018 Indian Housing Plan submission to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Earlier that day in the Community Services Committee meeting, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Director Gary Cooper said the IHP must be submitted annually and acts as a “road map” for the tribe’s spending.

“This will have to be amended, and it can be amended at any time. It is required to be submitted to HUD every year. It’s basically a road map that tells what we plan to do and how we plan to spend those monies,” he said.

According to the plan, officials estimate that approximately $37.4 million would be “expended” during the “12-month program year.”

“This would allocate $37 million and some change. Those are both in NAHASDA (Native American Housing and Self Determination Act) and there’s a few non-NAHASDA dollars that we have to account for in this IHP part of that. One of those programs is our VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program,” he said. “It’s not a part of NAHASDA, but we do have to account for it in this. So this authorizes us to begin spending NAHASDA dollars at the beginning of the fiscal year. There are no new programs in this plan. These are all existing programs. We will need to come back after we get those estimates for 2018.”

The tribe’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Cooper said HUD’s estimates for the 2018 IHP should be available by September.

“Our estimates for 2018, we don’t have those and they’re not projected to be completed until at least Sept. 6. So even after we do this IHP we will have to come back and amend it, which we can do at any time we need to. We just have to have one submitted to HUD before the beginning of the fiscal year,” he said.

According to the IHP, funds will be used for low-rent modernization, homeownership modernization, low-rent operations, to construct rental housing, rent-to-own modernization, mortgage assistance, homeownership rehab, the homeownership replacement home program, rental assistance, temporary rental assistance, transitional housing, project-based college housing and other programs.

Also during the Tribal Council meeting, Councilors Don Garvin, Curtis Snell, Jack Baker and David Thornton said their goodbyes while participating in their last council meeting before newly elected legislators are inaugurated in August.

Garvin, Snell, Baker and Thornton are term-limited and must sit out four years before running for the same council seat.

Councilor Joe Byrd said although they would no longer be serving after Aug. 14, they’re “not going anywhere” because they’re still “family.”

“We won’t ever have that knowledge and wisdom again at that level. You got a different generation, a different era of council members coming up. Not that they’re bad, but when you take away the…mind of four guys that are 70 and older you’re really taking away a lot of wisdom,” he said. “These guys don’t come in here with an agenda. They come in there in council and committee meetings and they’ll vote on an issue, but after they vote it’s over. They’ll come shake your hand and go eat a sandwich with you. That is hard to find in today’s time. I’ve served with them in many ways, and I will truly miss them.”

In other business, legislators:

• Increased the FY 2017 operating budget by $8.5 million to $703 million,

• Authorized a partnership between the Oklahoma State Department of Health and tribe’s maternal, infant and early childhood home-visiting grant for the remainder of FY 2017 and FY 2018 to improve home-visiting services for children and families,

• Approved Gabe Mosteller to the Economic Development Trust Authority board of directors, and

• Approved the CN Security Department to donate equipment to the Stilwell Police Department.

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