HULBERT - Construction on the Cherokee Nation's eight new efficiency homes in Hulbert was recently completed, and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation continues to take applications for future tenants.

Construction on the houses began in November 2019. Located inside the Shade Addition, the efficiency homes will be used as income-based rental units for Cherokee Nation elders.

"In times like these, it is important that our Cherokee Nation elders have a place they can call home," said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. "Programs like these ensure that we provide housing so our most vulnerable citizens can continue to social distance. This is the type of innovative approach to housing that we need across all of Cherokee Nation."

The Shade Addition includes eight one-bedroom units. Each accessible unit is 720 square feet.

"I applaud the administration and the Housing Authority for taking an innovative approach to housing needs, and I am excited to see this project completed for the Hulbert community," said District 1 Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan. "We are always looking for new ways to provide housing for our elders. The hard work of our Housing Authority will be appreciated for years to come by the Cherokees who will live in this new addition."

Applicants must be 62 years or older to qualify. Household income must be at or below 80 percent of the national median income guidelines, and rent will be based on income. The head of the household or spouse must be a Cherokee Nation citizen. Background checks will be conducted.

"These units were built with elderly occupants in mind, and will provide safe and sanitary living conditions for them," said Gary Cooper, executive director of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. "With many people now experiencing lower incomes, our elders need homes with rent based on income, and the Housing Authority is willing to help."

Applications are available on the Housing Authority website at www.hacn.org/media/2unf2p21/rental-program-application.pdf, or those interested in an application can request one be mailed to them by calling 918-456-5482.

The Cherokee Nation is also building 12 one-bedroom and two two-bedroom efficiency homes for Cherokee elders in Tahlequah, as well as three three-bedroom family units in Salina, in an effort to replace some of the tribe's oldest rental properties. All of these units are expected to be complete in the summer of 2020, weather permitting.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, subcontractors working on Housing Authority projects, including the efficiency homes, were able to safely continue their interior and exterior work on units that were unoccupied, allowing for completion of the eight homes in Hulbert. For safety precautions, all other housing repair projects were limited to exterior work for occupied homes during the pandemic.

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