The Colorado River Indian Tribes will be receiving $1.8 million in federal grant funds for affordable housing assistance. This is part of $450 million in affordable housing grants being made available to tribal governments to help their communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic. It’s part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. This is often referred to as the coronavirus stimulus act.
The ARPA follows the $4 trillion in coronavirus relief approved in 2020. It was introduced by Rep. John A. Yarmuth, D- Ky., on Feb. 24. It was signed into law by President Joe Biden March 11.
The funding for tribal governments was announced March 25 by Arizona’s two U.S. Senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly. In a press release, they stated they secured these funds through bi-partisan negotiations during the passing of the ARPA.
Tribal communities have been hit hard by the pandemic. CRIT has seen 849 positive cases as of the virus, and 17 Tribal members have died of complications from the virus.
Sinema and Kelly said the ARPA provides $450 million for the Indian Housing Block Grants Program, which assists in providing a range of housing activities on Indian reservations and Indian areas. The program will provide affordable housing assistance to Tribal members.
“A healthy community requires safe, affordable housing,” Sinema said in the press release. “We secured critical funding to help tribal communities in Arizona house their members and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Sinema said it was one of her top priorities to ensure Tribal communities have access to affordable housing, infrastructure and broadband Internet service.
“The on-going public health and economic crisis has exposed and deepened inequalities with housing in Arizona's tribal communities and put far too many families at risk of homelessness,” Kelly said in the release. “These affordable housing grants will bring much-needed assistance to Arizona’s tribal communities seeking relief after a year of economic uncertainty. As we work to rebuild our economy, we must continue to ensure tribal communities have the resources to give families a clearer path to recovery.”
The largest recipient of these funds in Arizona will be the Navajo Nation at almost $50 million. The Navajos have been hit hard by the pandemic. With almost 300,000 members, of whom 173,000 live on the reservation in northern Arizona and New Mexico, there have been 30,021 cases and 1,235 deaths. About 16,300 have recovered, and over 12,000 cases are still listed as active.
Other major Tribal recipients include Tohono O’odham ($7.4 million), White Mountain Apache ($5.3 million), Gila River ($5.3 million), Hopi ($4.7 million) and San Carlos Apache ($4.3 million).
The ARPA includes provisions on aid to state and local governments, communities and industries that have been hit hard by the virus, changes in tax laws that will affect businesses and individuals, and other provisions.
In addition to grants for affordable housing, the ARPA provides Tribal governments with funding for health services and education.