Federal Grant is helping the Comanche Housing Authority with vital repairs to Aboriginal homes

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A $1 million federal grant will help the Comanche Nation Housing Authority (CNHA) meet home repair needs of tribal members in five Oklahoma counties.

“People call us every day with emergencies,” Nora Sovo, deputy director of CNHA, told Native News Online. “It’s the busiest program we have. There is never enough money to fix all the repairs people’s homes need, so we must limit our tribal-funded programs to emergency repairs only.”

For the eighth consecutive year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded CNHA a federal grant that provides $333,250 of its own funding to the program. The funding will help the organization go beyond emergency home repairs and make vital repairs, Sovo said, such as a new roof.

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“So these kinds of services keep families in their homes,” Sovo said.

The housing authority plans to complete interior and exterior repairs on at least 30 homes over the next three years. Its state grant programs serve five counties in southwest Oklahoma: Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Kiowa, and Tillman. Last year, CNHA repaired 96 homes under the same program, Sovo said in a statement.

The grant is for Comanche families who earn 80% or less of the national median income, Sovo said. Many of these families are elderly and multi-generational families who do not have extra money for home repairs and may not have insurance.

“So one of the requirements for this program is insurance … So we also found ways that if they don’t have insurance, we can use non-government funds to get insurance for them,” Sovo said.

CNHA’s home repair assistance can range from plumbing repairs to installing a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, she says. Sovo said the cost of HVAC units has increased by several thousand dollars in recent years.

The weather brings additional challenges. Large hail can cause people to put a tarp on their roof because they can’t afford to repair the damage, Sovo said.

“If the heat index was 115 degrees in the last week, so someone without air conditioning, or especially our elders – these are life-threatening situations,” Sovo said.

Those interested in learning more about the ICDBG Home Rehabilitation Program or to apply can call 580-357-4956 or visit www.comanchehousing.com. The CNHA said its other programs include rental and student housing, rehabilitation of retirement homes and acquisition of leases for homeowners.

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Andrew Kennard
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Andrew Kennard is a reporter for Native News Online. Kennard, a rising junior at Drake University, writes freelance for Iowa Capital Dispatch and has worked for The Times-Delphic, Drake’s student newspaper.


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