Navajo women-led nonprofit, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo, receives $2 mil grant for tribal home repairs

Miss Navajo Nation Valentina Clitso was joined by Yee Ha’ólníi Doo Board of Directors Ethel Branch, Dr. Delores Greyeyes, Vanessa Tullie and other community members for a two-day cultural celebration marking the Winter Solstice Dec. 21 and 22.  (Photo/Office Miss Navajo Nation)

Miss Navajo Nation Valentina Clitso was joined by Yee Ha’ólníi Doo Board of Directors Ethel Branch, Dr. Delores Greyeyes, Vanessa Tullie and other community members for a two-day cultural celebration marking the Winter Solstice Dec. 21 and 22. (Photo/Office Miss Navajo Nation)

LECHEE, Ariz. - Yee Ha’ólníi Doo (Navajo and Hopi Solidarity) received a historic $2 million grant from the Arizona Department of Housing State Housing Trust Funds (HTF). This marks the first-ever HTF allocation directly to a nonprofit and aims to address the critical need for safe and healthy housing on the Navajo Nation.

The award will enable Yee Ha’ólníi Doo to launch a multifaceted owner-occupied housing health and safety initiative, aiming to improve the living conditions of 100 to 225 Navajo families across Apache, Coconino and Navajo Counties where many Navajo households endure overcrowded and substandard housing without basic amenities like running water and electricity.

"We extend our heartfelt thanks to Senator Theresa Hatathlie for her tireless advocacy in securing this significant funding for Arizona residents," said Mary Francis, Yee Ha'olnii Doo Interim Executive Director. "This grant will allow us to transform the lives by restoring their homes to a safe and comfortable state."

The first project is already completed as the organization assisted 74-year-old Vietnam veteran Larry Yazzie with his leaky roof. After Yazzie waited several years for help, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo responded quickly and completed the repairs within a day.

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74-year-old Vietnam veteran Larry Yazzie's leaking roof was fixed by Yee Ha’ólníi Doo's housing initiative. (Photo/AJ Meyers, NHS)

Yazzie expressed his gratitude to the group.

“It rained recently and I didn’t feel any water drops in my home,” he said. “I feel really happy. Nizhoniye! Baah Shił Hózhǫ́. They did a wonderful job!”

The success of Yazzie’s project highlights the collaborative nature of the initiative. Program Manager Ames Meyers partnered with local Navajo women-owned LCR Roofing, Inc., and Bodaway Gap Chapter Manager Andrea Dawes, a former relief volunteer, to prioritize urgent repairs identified by Dawes. LCR Roofing offered discounted rates and trash disposal services.

“I’m honored to share my skills and knowledge to contribute to a broader impact on our communities.,” Meyers said. “My focus is quality. We have the knowledge, the network, and the passion to ensure the success of this project.”

Hatathlie played a crucial role in securing the funding and recognizing the dire housing needs of the Navajo and Hopi Nations, the organization said.

She emphasized the importance of addressing the historical disparities tribal communities face.

“Our tribal communities stand as a testament to the dedication, resilience, and unwavering self-determination of our ancestors and successive generations,” Hatathlie said. “It is both a privilege and an honor to witness the initiation and ongoing progress of a significant housing rehabilitation project for Navajo Nation and anticipate the same momentum within the Hopi Nation, in the coming days.

Hatathalie praised the grass roots groups helping to make change on the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

“In recent years, qualified indigenous-led non-profits have hit the ground running to provide much-needed services to our people,” she said. “I fully support Yee Haolnii Doo’s dedication to restoring and repairing housing in Arizona’s rural and tribal communities.”

Beyond housing repairs, the initiative will create three new local jobs on the Navajo reservation, which aligns with Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s broader mission to revitalize communities and empower individuals and families.

“This initiative highlights the transformative power of including indigenous matriarchs in environmental or social justice movements,” said Deputy Director Cassandra Begay.

Yee Ha’ólníi Doo has distributed over $12 million in direct relief to approximately 500,000 Navajo and Hopi people, launched three Community Centers on the Navajo reservation, and created local jobs while promoting food security, youth leadership, social entrepreneurship, and cultural preservation, according to the organization.

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