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.