Our Native Home Resource Network program was designed to help families address health and safety home repair needs. Our case managers work with home owners to assess their needs and available resources and then leverage our networks to gather the missing components to complete needed repairs. Often, it takes multiple resources in order to fully address the needs of a given family.
One example of an NHRN resource is a Housing Preservation Grant we were recently awarded from USDA Rural Development to help Navajo families living in Cameron, AZ. We also have specific funding from Kendal Charitable Funds that helps us conduct aging in place assessments for tribal elders and provide them with simple home modifications like grab bars, anti-slip mats, toilet risers, and LED lighting.
Currently we have over 136 families that have contacted us for assistance. Our policy is to give each family a minimum of an hour of our time, in which we provide them with advice and referrals. As our capacity allows, we then move these cases into an active management status. At this time, we are actively helping 19 families find the resources for their housing repair needs. The recent addition of Shannon Maho to our team has greatly increased our capacity to service more active cases.
We are now in our fourth year providing professional home weatherization services to Hopi and Navajo families that receive electricity from APS. Since the start of 2019, two Hopi professionals, employed by our subcontractor CozyHomes, LLC, have been able to make substantial improvements to the comfort and energy efficiency of 14 homes so far. Ensuring that the envelope of a home (roof, siding, windows, doors) and insulation are intact is often our first priority to ensure families have the basic framework for a healthy home. Many of the families that come to us through this program also require the help of NHRN to resolve health and safety repairs that are not covered under our contract with APS. We are grateful to have this case management program to help families find additional funding when necessary.
Over the past year we developed a new healthy heating educational program with support from the University of Arizona Foundation’s Agnese B. Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. Now with their additional support, we are developing a heating demonstration site to introduce two alternative heating technologies to the Hopi community and learn more about their performance. The driving need for this work is coal, the primary fuel source for many Hopi and Navajo families, is expected to become very scarce at the end of 2019 with the closure of Navajo Generating Station. Now, more than ever, healthy heating alternatives are needed, and Red Feather is working earnestly to respond to this need.
Four Corners Stove Replacement and Weatherization Program:
We are now helping to facilitate a project in the Four Corners region of New Mexico on the Navajo Nation that seeks to improve indoor and outdoor air quality by providing cleaner heating appliances and increasing home heating efficiency in 500 area homes. Many families burn coal and wood to heat their homes, often with older, inefficient appliances that can contribute to disproportionate rates of respiratory disease. The funding for the work is provided via a consent decree by Arizona Public Service, Southern California Edison, and other owners of the Four Corners Power Plant. Roy Hosteen has joined the Red Feather staff to coordinate this program. The duration of the project is expected to be about three years, and Red Feather is honored to have been asked to play a part in this important work.
As reported in the spring newsletter, Red Feather launched a new home weatherization program in April. The program is funded through a contract with Arizona Public Service (APS) which reimburses Red Feather for all qualified weatherization expenses incurred on APS customer homes up to $6,000 per home. APS provides electricity to those residents of Hopi and the Navajo Chapters of Tuba City and Cameron; at least to those fortunate enough to be connected to the grid. To get the program started we are partnering with the Hopi Village of Shungopavi, where we are grateful to have the guidance and assistance of their Village Community Service Administrator, Sandy Whitehair.
Since the program’s debut, the energy efficiency, comfort, health and safety of 15 homes that are occupied by 56 individuals have been drastically improved. An additional 16 homes are in-line for services, with new applications being submitted each week. We have contracted with a great weatherization expert, Eli Chamberlin of CozyHomes Inc. He is employing three full-time Hopi workers and is looking to hire another who is skilled in carpentry, and dry-walling. These are new jobs in the community that did not exist before.
Five households have been transitioned to Red Feather’s Native Home Resource Network (NHRN) program due to excessive health and safety issues in the home that make it ineligible for the weatherization program. NHRN is a program funded through a grant from Wells Fargo that matches families with housing needs to resources that exist either in their tribe or outside their tribe.
Customer satisfaction surveys from occupants of our weatherized homes have been overwhelmingly positive. “Thank you very much, for your excellent work will help so many families on improving their home where this kind of work would not have been possible.” Another comment we overheard was, “I’m actually looking forward to winter for once!”. To date over $60,000 has directly been invested in materials, labor, and educational outreach for the program and about 40% of that money stays in the community.
Red Feather could not be happier with how this program is developing and as soon as we have a little more experience with it we have plans to expand the program to other Hopi Villages and Navajo Chapters.