Agreement addresses subpar housing for former Bennett Freeze residents
LEUPP, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed an agreement June 7 to move forward with housing renovations, repairs and replacements in the Leupp community with Former Bennett Freeze Area money.
Nez signed the agreement with Navajo Hopi Land Commission Office Executive Director Robert Black Jr., officials from the Leupp Chapter and Choice Humanitarian officials on hand to witness the moment.
“Leupp has historically led the region in development and today we are seeing them continue that legacy of T’áá Hwó Ají Téego, or self-reliance and self-determination, by taking ownership of the future of their community through this partnership,” Nez said. “Exercising our inherent sovereignty also includes honoring the hard work and sacrifices of previous leaders and prioritizing the people. It all starts at the hogan level and supporting the foundation that future generations can build upon as they come home.”
In accordance with Resolution No. NHLCJY-27-13 approved by the Navajo Hopi Land Commission, approximately $3.7 million was drawn down from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for housing and other projects for the nine chapters located within the Former Bennett Freeze Area.
The funds were made available through fees and other revenues collected from the former Bennet Freeze lands by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) after the freeze was imposed in 1966.
In 2008, a Compact was signed by the parties involved to allow the freeze on development to be lifted.
The new/updated MOU marks the first of four for LGA certified Chapters in the Former Bennett Freeze Area intended to address the subpar housing conditions for Navajo residents. As one of the four LGA certified chapters, Leupp is able to enter into the agreement with Choice Humanitarian, who will provide the technical support necessary to assess, plan, budget and begin construction/repairs of the homes.
The Navajo Hopi Land Commission Office will facilitate the funding distribution and monitor the activities and oversight to provide additional accountability. The other three LGA certified Chapters within the area include Tonalea, Bodaway/Gap and Tó Nanees Dizi.
As of June 6, Leupp Chapter has initiated assessments of 10 eligible homes within the former Bennett Freeze area, which involved the assistance of a certified licensed contractor in collaboration with CHOICE Humanitarian technical staff.
In addition, NHLCO is working with the partners to expand the capacity of the non-certified chapters to address dilapidated homes. The Navajo Hopi Land Commission Office will continue to meeting with the nine chapters to advance home repairs, renovations and maintenance.