It’s been a busy spring and summer for Red Feather. We’ve been making a meaningful impact with our case management program, the Native Home Resource Network. The program attempts to help families with their housing needs, leveraging as many resources as possible that exist within the family and community before supplementing those with resources Red Feather and its network can locate outside the community. Please read Joe’s articles about some of the successes we are seeing with this program and others. This Memorial Day we took a small break from helping with housing to join our partner, Western Navajo Agency Veterans Administration, hosting an event to honor departed veterans. Native Americans have the highest percentage of people serving in the military - more than any other ethnic group in the United States. This is partly because of lack of jobs in their communities, but also because of their strong warrior traditions. There is a tremendous amount of respect and honor bestowed upon those that are willing to sacrifice their own lives for others.
Thanks to a grant from APS, material donations from Home Depot, and labor and planning support from a group of Honor Riders and other members of the Tuba City community, we repainted the exterior of the Veterans office, spruced up the surrounding area, and hosted a memorial ceremony and lunch for Veterans and their families.
The ceremony that began with a sunrise prayer and raising of flags, included over 200 names of deceased Veterans being added to a memorial wall. It was a day filled with emotional speeches. Tears could be seen on even the most stoic faces.
With so many from these Native communities making the ultimate sacrifice - for us -it gives me even greater resolve to help with their urgent housing needs. My hope by sharing this is that it will compel you to ask yourself what more you can do. Would you consider putting Red Feather in your estate plans? If you are interested in discussing this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
By Joe Seidenberg
Red Feather's Native Home Resource Network (NHRN) links homeowners with resources to address critical health and safety housing needs. Sometimes this is as simple as providing a referral to existing resources like assistance with an energy bill and other times it involves many hours of dedicated case management to resolve more complex health and safety repairs.
Recently, Red Feather has been assisting Jeanette Sahneyah, a Hopi Tribal elder from the Village of Shungopavi, to identify the resources needed to implement critical roofing repairs and mold mitigation on her home. To date, we have been able to develop project plans, identify contractors, secure a $7,500 grant from the USDA, and obtain an environmental health assessment from U.S. Indian Health Services. Additionally, we have another $6,000 available from Arizona Public Service to weatherize the home once the roof has been repaired. However, despite all the resources and progress amassed so far, we still need additional funds to complete the project as planned. This is why we recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to leverage the power of individual giving.
We have found that private foundations generally do not fund direct housing repairs due to a preference for focusing on systemic issues of poverty and community development, such as Red Feather’s DIY Educational Programs. While addressing systemic issues is an important focus area, it also ignores the fact that many families need immediate assistance with health and safety issues in their homes. And while most tribal housing authorities are doing all they can to help, they often cannot meet the overwhelming demand for their services. Just as there is a Red Cross to help families and communities with disasters there needs to be services that are responding to emergency housing repair needs.
Our hope for the sustainability of this strategy is to build a large enough network that continues to grow. If even a few people are supportive of this effort and in-turn share with their network we are moving in the right direction.