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WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA - Some of the poorest Navajo elders now have new homes and they are overwhelmed by them. A total of 22 new homes were made possible from funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act built on the Navajo Nation.
Nellie and John Lee, Navajo
The homes were built at a average cost of $107,045 per house. The constructed homes reflect 80 percent of the funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The remaining 20 percent went for administration costs.
"The Navajo Nation has been strengthened by these funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Not only were homes constructed, but new jobs were also created," stated Navajo President Ben Shelly.
On June 16, John and Nellie Lee of Rocky Ridge received their certificate of homeownership and keys to their new home. John Lee was herding sheep and had to return home to sign the necessary paperwork.
The couple said they previously lived in cramped quarters and turned out the lights early each evening, before retiring for the day.
Funds gave temporary employment for a workforce of 50-plus Navajo carpenters
"Now, we have all this space," Nellie Lee said in Navajo.
Arbn Mitchell, director of Navajo Nation Division of Community Development commented the new homes improved the quality of life for Navajo families.
"These new homes were built to meet the needs of the elderly homeowners," Mitchell said. "Now, they have a house that will, not only shelter them, but also keep them relatively comfortable."
Karlene Zajicek, housing program officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said the new homes are beautiful.
"I think the elders, the grandmas and grandpas are going to enjoy them," Zajicek said. "The importance is that families are receiving and having access to standard, sanitary homes that are warm in the winter and cool in the summer."
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new homes not only changed the lives of the homeowners but also provided employment for many working on the project.
The funds gave temporary employment for a workforce of 50-plus Navajo carpenters.
posted June 23, 2011 8:00 am et
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