Cherokee Nation breaks ground on 8 efficient homes for elders

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
01/30/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
An artist’s rendering shows what eight homes in Hulbert will look like as part of the new Shade Addition. The homes will be built through the Rental Properties program of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
From left to right are Katherine Patterson, Verna Thompson, Marylea Carey, Steve Carey, Hulbert Police Chief Casey Rowe, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Gina Blackfox, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan, former Tribal Councilor Tina Glory-Jordan and Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Executive Director Gary Cooper. The group on Jan. 24 braved the chill and wind to take part in the Shade Addition groundbreaking ceremony. The addition will hold eight efficient homes for tribal elders in Hulbert. COURTESY
HULBERT – Cherokee Nation and city officials during a brief ceremony on Jan. 24 broke ground on the new Shade Addition, which will be the site of eight energy efficient homes for tribal elders.

The homes will be built through the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s Rental Properties program. Each unit will be about 660 square feet with a living area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The addition is named after former Deputy Chief Hastings Shade, and some of his family members attended the groundbreaking.

“Cherokees have always believed our elders are the foundation of our families and our communities,” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “It is humbling to know that through the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, we will soon be able to provide even more homes for Cherokee elders. What better way to honor them than by ensuring they have safe homes, which are a key to good health.”

Qualifications are similar to other CN rental programs. Minimum resident age is 62 and there are income guidelines. Applications are tentatively set to open in March and rent will be income-based. Preference will be given to eligible residents living in the HACN’s Proctor Heights rental properties in Hulbert.

“The good thing is that we used national median income for our guidelines, so the thresholds will be a little bit higher than locally,” HACN Executive Director Gary Cooper said. “We will put out a notice when we open applications.”

Additional plans call for 17 more efficient homes to be built in CN communities in an effort to replace some of the tribe’s oldest rental properties. Currently, the HACN oversees 944 apartment-style rental properties throughout the tribe’s 14 counties.

“The reason we are doing this is because we had an old project from 1968,” Cooper said. “It wasn’t even new when it was built. It used old Army barracks. We got approval from the government to demolish those and rebuild someplace else. This is one of the sites for those units. They are new, full-rental units. We maintain them, but these are not apartments. They’re individual units. The (residents) aren’t going to share walls. This is a really exciting opportunity for us.”

Cooper said parks, the post office and the senior citizens center are short walks from the site.
“The Shade Addition elder homes represent the first of their kind for our tribe,” he said. “These energy efficient homes may be smaller in size, but the interiors are designed with full-sized features, including washers and dryers and accessible bathrooms. This is a special program and we’re proud to see work beginning.”

Construction is expected to be complete in the summer.

“It’s a blessing to know the Cherokee Nation can provide quality housing to our Cherokee elders,” Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan said. “The Shade Addition is within walking distance to the senior center, to the community post office, to a wonderful park and to other necessities for our elders. I’m proud of this project and the opportunities it will provide for years to come, and I am proud the Hulbert community was selected among the first to be a site for new homes for the elderly.”

The HACN also operates other housing services, including the New Home Construction Program, housing rehabilitation, senior housing, college housing assistance and rental assistance.

For information about HACN programs, visit www.hacn.org.
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