Navajo president approves additional $16 mil in CARES funding
President could approve additional funds for children and other enrolled members
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Dec. 30, Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer approved reallocation of the remaining CARES Act funds for hardship assistance for enrolled members of the Navajo Nation who are 60 years old and over, who previously demonstrated a need for assistance to mitigate the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to that funding, the president’s office is currently considering a separate resolution that would allocate an additional $2,000 per adult and $600 per child per the American Rescue Act Funds. The Office of the President and Vice President is awaiting the delivery of the resolution from the Legislative Branch, as of Dec. 30.
The Navajo Nation Council approved the measure for those 60 and older during a special session held Dec. 29.
The nearly $16 million in CARES Act funds will provide approximately $300 dollars per eligible person 60 years and older. Elders will not need to re-apply for the hardship funds. The Office of the Controller is beginning the payment process and elders can anticipate receiving the check payment in the next week or two.
“We love and cherish our elders very much. This pandemic has created many challenges for everyone, especially our elder parent and grandparents,” Nez said. “Throughout this pandemic, we’ve been to all 110 chapters and we’ve listened to the stories and experiences shared by our people and we understand that there are many needs within homes and among families. We strongly encourage our people to use the funds for essential items, supplies, bills, and other expenses that provide financial relief and help your loved ones overcome this modern-day monster known as COVID-19.”
Additional funding under consideration
Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty said the additional assistance of $2,000 per adult and $600 per child, will allow relatives to purchase essential winter supplies like gasoline, firewood and food now.
“It has been over eight months since President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act and our Navajo people should not suffer another day without knowing how their government will assist them as they suffer from grief, mental health and financial hardship,” Crotty said.
Lizer said the legislation signed by Nez will help many families.
“With the approval of this resolution, we are helping our grandmas and grandpas who often rely on a fixed monthly income and many who continue to struggle financially due to the pandemic,” Lizer said. “We continue to pray and work with our health experts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to hopefully lessen the burden on our frontline workers. Our elders are the heart and soul of our families and our communities. As leaders, we have to support them in every way we can.”
In accordance with federal requirements, CARES Act funds are required to be used no later than Dec. 31. The Office of the Controller is working to process the hardship assistance checks, which will be distributed by mail in approximately one or two weeks.
Information provided by Navajo Nation OPVP and Council