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Navajo Veterans Housing Project Continues into Second Year

FARMINGTON A 2013 project to build houses for Navajo veterans in each of the five agencies is continuing into another year.

An update about the Navajo veterans housing project was provided on Wednesday to officials in the Navajo Office of the President and Vice President in Window Rock, Ariz., according to a press release from the office.

The housing project was implemented in September 2013 after the Navajo National Council and tribal President Ben Shelly approved an amendment that divided the mandatory 4 percent set-aside for the Veterans Trust Fund, sending 2 percent to the trust fund and 2 percent to the Department of Navajo Veterans Affairs.

The 2 percent received by the veterans affairs department is being used to build up to 15 homes and provide minor renovations for veterans homes in each of the five agencies through fiscal year 2017.

Wallace Charley, the veterans service officer for the veterans affairs departments Shiprock Agency office, said 12 houses were built in 2014.

Completion of the houses is at a standstill until the weather warms, he said, adding that crew members will complete interior work after the winter weather ends.

We want to build them nice, Charley said about the houses. We try to be careful in how we build these homes.

With 19 chapters comprising the Shiprock Agency, it was determined to provide one house for each chapter, he said.

Chapters that did not receive houses in 2014 will be the first to receive homes this year, Charley said.

One of the problems the office experienced is that veterans are not applying for the project, and, so far, eight veterans have been selected for 2015.

Charley said veterans who are interested in applying for the program can pick up an application or receive more information at the office in Shiprock.

Although each agency is funded to build one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom houses, the office is finding out that some veterans are not interested in receiving a one-bedroom house, he said.

The office also had three veterans who qualified for two-bedroom houses but wanted three bedrooms.

In those cases, the veterans provided the extra funding to increase the house size to three bedrooms, he said.

Last February, the tribe and Home Depot Inc. signed a $1.9 million contract to receive housing materials for the project until December.

I have to commend Home Depot, Charley said. They gave us real nice materials.

Joseph Lucero, a pro account sales associate with Home Depot in Farmington, said the store locations in Farmington, Gallup and Flagstaff, Ariz., supplied the materials.

We have traveled the entire 27,000 square miles of the reservation, Lucero said, adding that the construction workers did an incredible job during the first year of the project.




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