Navajo Housing Authority
CONTACT: Christian Bigwater, Interim Director
Government and Public Relations Department
Office – (928) 871-2614
Cell – (928) 309-0036
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2020
Navajo Housing Authority authorizes use of $52.3 million dollars in CARES Act IHBG funds and NAHASDA annual IHBG funds for Navajo Nation’s COVID-19 response
WINDOW ROCK. Ariz. – The Navajo Housing Authority (“NHA “) will receive $22,333,177.00 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) IHBG funding, and has authorized reprogramming of and additional $30,000,000.00 in Fiscal Year 2020 NAHASDA Annual IHBG funding, for a total of $52,333,177.00 it is making available to fund eligible COVID-19 projects within the Navajo Nation.
Speaking to the Board’s decision, Chairman Kris Beecher indicated “We need to get money flowing now to assist with pandemic response. Our task is so urgent we directed our team to come up with a methodology to provide for the orderly administration of the CARES Act IHBG funding, and the NAHASDA Annual IHBG funding, while minimizing red tape.” Vice-Chairperson Derrith Watchman-Moore said, “Our staff worked tirelessly and came up with a mini-Indian Housing Plan that fits within HUD’s guidelines,” and thanked them for that. Commissioners Frankie Lee and Kerrie Begaye echoed the needs, “we need testing programs, portable labs, PPE, cleaning products, trash pickup, rental relief, utility payment relief, relocation assistance, quarters for first responders, infrastructure, and site development.”
Chief Executive Officer Frank Dayish, Jr. thanked the Board for providing him flexibility to move quickly. He was authorized and directed to make available up to $22,333,177.00 in CARES Act IHBG funding and to reprogram an additional $30,000,000.00 dollars in Fiscal Year 2020 Annual IHBG funds for eligible COVID-19 response projects within the Navajo Nation. The CARES Act IHBG funding will be expended pursuant to a mini Indian Housing Plan (“IHP”) approved by the Board. The $30 million in Fiscal year 2020 IHBG Annual funds will be expended under an amended IHP. Some of the expenditures will be by direct NHA acquisitions and contracts to obligate funds and accomplish IHP objectives, while the remainder shall be expended and obligated through MOUs with eligible entities ready to deploy immediately. All expenditures shall be monitored for compliance with federal laws and regulations, including procurement compliance. Entities and agencies that receives funds under MOUs will be required to submit documentation to ensure funds are spent properly, and that NHA audits will not have any findings. Additionally, recipients of funds under MOUs are required to provide reports including the number of residents and families served, and the communities served. The goal of NHA is to support the efforts of all Navajo Nation, address the urgent needs of residents and families, and support NHA’s ongoing direct relief programs implemented under the NHA Way Initiative.
The Chief Executive Officer was also authorized and directed to determine what of the $30,000,000.00 NAHASDA IHBG funding he believes NHA will be able to spend down in 2020 in light of problems associated with COVID-19, and was directed to provide the Board of Commissioners with an amended IHP on or before June 30, 2020 for its consideration and approval. The 2020 IHBG Annual funds are immediately available, and will be expended with Board approval starting right away. In this way, funds that are available can also be used to for COVID-19 relief.
The NHA Board Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Commissioners, and CEO have all made themselves fully available to communicate with the Navajo Nation President, the Incident Commander of the Health Command Operations Center, Dr. Jill Jim, Dr. Pearl Yellowman, Division of Community Development, Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Area IHS, the Resources and Community Development Committee, and the Speaker’s Office, to ensure both CARES Act IHBG funding and NAHASDA Annual IHBG funding can be deployed quickly.