HACN give 11 Cherokee families keys to homes

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/16/2018 04:00 PM
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Candle Melton and her husband, Bryan, hold their “From Tears to Joy” print by Traci Rabbit inside their new home, which they received after participating in the Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program. The Meltons were one of 11 Cherokee families that received the print at a ceremony on May 11 in Vinita. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
VINITA – Eleven Cherokee families received keys to their new homes on May 11 after participating in the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program.

The 1,350-square-foot brick homes on Miller Street each feature a garage, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

According to Cherokee Nation Communications, $1.1 million was invested into the homes and infrastructure and will provide an estimated $28,000 in impact aid to local schools.

CN citizen Candle Melton and her family received one of the new homes. The family of three had lived with her mother, and she said the home is a blessing.

“We are so excited to have a brand new house to call our own. This would not have been possible without Cherokee Nation and the New Home Construction Program,” Melton said. “I am definitely proud to be Cherokee and cannot thank Cherokee Nation enough for their investments in our communities and for this wonderful opportunity to become the homeowners of a brand new home.”

Principal Chief Bill John Baker implemented the program in 2012. The Vinita home recipients were selected from the HACN’s waiting list of applicants who do not own land.

“Helping Cherokees improve their lives by establishing homeownership is creating stronger communities and healthier families in northeast Oklahoma,” Baker said. “We took these acres in Vinita and converted them into a desirable neighborhood of almost a dozen houses. Building safe and secure homes that are affordable for our citizens has established Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program as the unparalleled model of excellence for Indian Country.”

Chief of Staff and Vinita native Chuck Hoskin said the homes were the latest in decades of improvements to the area by CN.

“In more than 25 years of serving the Cherokee people, I’ve witnessed much progress for this community. These new homes will have a lasting, positive impact,” Hoskin said.

The HACN recently received a grant from Bank2 for the home program, which allows the HACN to keep the home recipients’ monthly payment at $350.

Schools in the area also benefit from the homes because they receive $2,800 in federal impact aid for each enrolled student who resides in the homes.

“The new Miller Street Housing Addition is a major boon for the town of Vinita,” Tribal Councilor Victoria Vazquez said. “Not only does it help citizens achieve homeownership, it’s also going to bring much-needed revenue to the school system through impact aid dollars.”

Along with the homes, the CN also invested more than $100,000 in infrastructure development on Miller Street and within the housing addition.

In addition to the 660 homes built through the program, the HACN has nearly 100 more homes under construction in the tribe’s jurisdiction. For more information, visit www.hacn.org.

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