Cherokee Nation engages in HUD housing program for skilled workers

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A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program designed to allow for the construction of rental housing units is getting a new participant: the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation announced it will participate in HUD’s Section 184 Skilled Workers Demonstration Program, which will allow for the construction of multiple rental dwelling units in Cherokee communities that will be provided to skilled workers in multiple professional fields, according to an announcement published by Anadisgoi, their official news platform.

“The HUD program is a loan program that aids organizations in recruiting skilled workers for hard-to-fill or hard-to-recruit positions,” the announcement said. “The Cherokee Nation, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, and Cherokee Nation Businesses have worked together to identify those positions in fields such a law enforcement, healthcare, education, contracting, housing and the culinary arts.”

They are one of the first tribes to be approved for the program, according to the announcement. The impact that participation can have on Cherokee communities has significant potential to make a positive difference, according to Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

“This demonstration program has the opportunity to make a big impact on our Cherokee communities that need assistance in recruiting skilled and essential workers,” Hoskin Jr. said. “The Cherokee Nation has always prioritized the housing needs for our Cherokee communities, and this program is just another example of how we’re providing better resources to accommodate those needs.”

Such skilled workers eligible for the program include law enforcement officers, health workers, teachers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, carpenters, roofers, cooks and more.

“The housing made available by this program will be provided to Cherokee citizen employees, citizens of other tribal nations or non-Indians,” the announcement said. “At least one member of the renter’s household must be employed as a skilled worker at the time of initial leasing of the property and must sign the lease.”

They will seek additional Section 184 funding to construct the additional rental units, which will serve to “meet the needs of several of the most critical employment recruitment and retention efforts,” they said.

The program’s initial roll-out will take place in Ochelata, Okla., which features 30 needed skilled labor positions, half of which have been vacant “for some time.”

“If successful, the program will expand to other locations to ease the housing demands in multiple communities and provide better resources to the Human Resources teams building the Cherokee Nation’s workforce,” the announcement said.

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