May 11, 2018
VINITA, Okla. – With construction complete, 11 Cherokee families received the keys to their new homes in Vinita on Friday. The homes were built through the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program.
The 1,350-square-foot brick homes on Miller Street each feature a garage, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“Helping Cherokees improve their lives by establishing homeownership is creating stronger communities and healthier families in northeast Oklahoma,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “We took these acres in Vinita and converted them into a desirable neighborhood of almost a dozen houses. Building safe and secure homes that are affordable for our citizens has established Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program as the unparalleled model of excellence for Indian Country.”
Baker implemented the New Home Construction Program in 2012. The Vinita home recipients were selected from the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s waiting list of program applicants who do not own land.
Cherokee Nation citizen Candle Melton’s family is one of the 11 new home recipients. The Melton family of three had lived with her mother, and she said the new home is an incredible blessing for her family.
“We are so excited to have a brand-new house to call our own. This would not have been possible without Cherokee Nation and the New Home Construction Program,” Melton said. “I am definitely proud to be Cherokee and cannot thank Cherokee Nation enough for their investments in our communities and for this wonderful opportunity to become the homeowners of a brand-new home.”
Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff and State Representative Chuck Hoskin said the new homes were the latest in decades of improvements to the area by Cherokee Nation.
“In more than 25 years of serving the Cherokee people, I’ve witnessed much progress for this community. These new homes will have a lasting, positive impact,” Hoskin said.
The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation recently received a grant from Bank2 for the New Home Construction Program. The grant allows the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation to keep the home recipients’ monthly payment at $350.
“The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation is so very proud of this program and the positive change it is making in the lives of our citizens,” said Gary Cooper, executive director of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. “This program is so special because it helps our citizens achieve the American dream of homeownership and creates stability for families throughout the Cherokee Nation.”
Schools in the area also benefit from the construction of 11 new homes since they receive $2,800 in federal impact aid for each enrolled student who resides in the homes.
“The new Miller Street Housing Addition is a major boon for the town of Vinita,” said Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez. “Not only does it help citizens achieve homeownership, it’s also going to bring much-needed revenue to the school system through impact aid dollars.”
Along with the 11 new homes, Cherokee Nation also invested more than $100,000 in infrastructure development on Miller Street and within the housing addition.
“The Cherokee Nation is dedicated to providing safe, affordable housing as well as to being a good community partner. The tribe understood the added stress on the area’s infrastructure with the addition of 11 new homes, and we were more than willing to do our part in upgrading the infrastructure as to not add a financial burden to the city,” said Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.
In addition to the 660 homes built through the New Home Construction Program since 2012, the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation also has nearly 100 more currently under construction throughout the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. For more information on the program, visit www.hacn.org.