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Arizona tribes get $2 million in economic development

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WASHINGTON - Arizona tribes have taken down more than $2 million in economic development money from the federal government recently.

More than $1.4 million comes from the federal appropriations process, while another $700,000 comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., announced that tribes took down more than 15 percent of $9 million appropriated for rural Arizona by H.R. 2673, the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

The Sage Memorial Hospital, on the Navajo Nation, received $500,000, while the White Mountain Apache tribe got $300,000 for the preparation of a master plan for drinking water infrastructure.

The Navajo Nation also took $215,000 to modernize equipment for crime prevention, while the San Carlos Tribal police got $235,000 for technology and investigative improvements.

Improvements to Navajo Mountain Road were funded, for $200,000, and the Tuba City Department of Law will get $20,000 for a new intoxilyzer.

In addition, HUD has granted the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority a $700,000 ROSS (Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency) award to allow tribal public housing residents to start a homebuyer education program and a resident services program.

The White Mountain Apache Housing Authority was the only Indian Housing Authority in Arizona to get a ROSS grant for 2003.

Each of the two programs received $350,000 in funding. The resident services program will allow the WMAHA residents to offer a GED scholarship program, create new neighborhood associations, a construction apprentice program, annual jobs fairs, a financial education program, and an IDA program to develop savings accounts for residents.

The homebuyer education program will facilitate a Homeowners Association, financial education courses, and will also promote IDA savings accounts.

The two programs will take three years to fully integrate, according to WMAHA Executive Director Gladys Bencomb.

The Fort Apache reservation has seen a lot of home-owning activity in recent years with the Apache Dawn housing project, which is building hundreds of homes on the reservation.