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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Hope For Housing

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The Navajo Nation is a Native American territory covering about 17,544,500 acres, occupying portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico in the United States. This is the largest land area retained by a Native American tribe, with a population of roughly 350,000 as of 2016.  It is beautiful beyond words and rich in natural resources.  The photo below is of Canyon de Chelly, a sacred place with a one-of-a-kind landscape and is the cherished homeland of the Navajo people. 
 cdechey

The Navajo Nation has an elected government that includes an executive office, a legislative house, and a judicial system.

The population continues to disproportionately struggle with housing, health problems, unemployment, poverty and the effects of past uranium mining incidents.

SOBIAGE Media questions the state of the Navajo Nation housing dilemma. 

Now, more than ever this is an important issue as on August 28, 2018, is the primary election to become President of the country’s largest American Indian reservation and has drawn a record number of candidates with 19 filing for the office.  The general election is Nov. 6, 2018. 

Is there Hope for Navajo Housing? OR The Same Ole' Same Ole'?

On July 18, 2018, the Navajo Housing Authority (NHA), announced that its Board of Commissioners has selected and appointed Mr. Craig Dougall as its new Chief Executive Officer.  

Dougall brings to the table 27 years of tribal housing and real estate development experience and extensive knowledge in mixed financing solutions such as Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LITHC)

Historically, The Navajo Housing Authority was rampant with mismanagement woes when Aneva Yazzie took control in 2007.   

The question was, "Can She, Is She, or Will She continue battling government bureaucracy to try to help her tribe"? 

Ms. Yazzie faced not only extreme problems and criticisms, but concerns for the same pattern of mismanagement has been an on-going discussion of the Navajo people. 

Unbelievable Or Justified?

Upon being hired, Ms. Yazzie decided to freeze all projects, not a single new home or rental property was built from 2008 to 2011, citing the Agency was just too much of a mess to function except in an Administrative manner…Three years of administrative costs.

Complex in nature, but essentially in 2013, the Navajo Housing Authority began spending down federal surplus funds. But troubling records show roughly half of those years $142 million in expenditures went to more “administration and planning.”


 

Those exact figures to which exact companies and/or exact individuals have not been released as of late.

In 2015, the Navajo Housing Authority in an open letter to Congress, Ms. Yazzie said the NHA had built 580 units the previous two years. However, available records indicate only 268 single-family or rental homes were built over that three-year period at a cost of a whopping $98 million.

During that time under the direction of Ms. Yazzie, the NHA spent another staggering $104.6 million on planning and administration.

The Navajo Nation has big needs and nearly 34,000 new homes are reportedly needed on the reservation. This may be an underestimate.

Perhaps a new Navajo Nation President with a new administration can help rescue the housing dilemma.

Hope springs eternal but it has thus far evaded The Navajo Housing Authority. As a 21-year Real Estate Professional, I truly have  'Hope for Housing', indeed a change must occur or the People of the Navajo Nation will continue to suffer, needlessly. 

Sources:

@Navajo Housing Statistics @Navajo Housing Reports
@ Navajo Housing Charts and Graphs
@ Arizona News Central
@Woody Iron Heart

   

 

 


 

 

 

 


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