MUSKOGEE, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation broke ground Tuesday on a 12-acre housing addition in Muskogee that is being built for Cherokee families.
The new neighborhood will be named the ᏗᏟᎯ (ditlihi) or Warrior Addition. The project will initially include 12 homes but has a total of 30 lots for future expansion as needs increase.
“Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and I created the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act in 2019 to help address the struggles we were seeing among Cherokee families for safe, affordable homes,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The initial $30 million investment was historic, but the expansion of the Act with an additional $120 million last year is truly allowing us to make generational changes. We have built or repaired hundreds of homes under the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act already and this new addition in Muskogee is another positive step forward for Cherokee families.”
The 12 new Muskogee homes being built are part of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Construction Homeownership Program for Cherokee families who have applied and were on the waiting list for housing but do not have their own land.
The Cherokee Nation and HACN also broke ground in February on a similar project with 24 homes and room to build more on a 23-acre tract of land in Tahlequah.
“The housing market has been such a rollercoaster of change in recent years, and for some Cherokee families the concern of housing insecurity is all too real,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “These 12 new homes will be a true comfort and blessing to Cherokee families and another positive outcome of the historic Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act.”
Houses in the new addition will each include three bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage and will range from 1,745 square feet to 1,844 square feet with low-cost maintenance features and brick siding. Each home will also include a closet constructed of hardened walls to serve as a storm shelter.
“These new homes in Muskogee will improve so many Cherokee families lives and it’s great to see housing projects under construction across the reservation,” Council of the Cherokee Nation Speaker Mike Shambaugh said. “These homes will give people a safe, warm, nice new place to flourish and build equity. I’m proud of the progress Cherokee Nation has made on the housing needs of Cherokees and look forward to more to come.”
The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Construction Homeownership Program is a lease-to-own program created to provide a path to homeownership for eligible Cherokee citizens.
The Cherokee Nation is in the planning stages for nearly 200 upcoming housing projects across the Cherokee Nation Reservation for Cherokees without land under the New Construction Homeownership Program. Aside from Muskogee and Cherokee County construction future projects are also planned for Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa and Washington Counties.
As part of the reauthorized Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act signed into law in 2022, Cherokee Nation is dedicating a total of $60 million for constructing new homes, shortening wait times for applicants to the tribe’s New Construction Homeownership Program. Another $30 million is dedicated to low-income housing rehabilitation or home replacement and low-income emergency housing rehab, primarily for elders and citizens with disabilities.
Also included in the funding is $4 million for new, low-income housing rental units, $4 million for building or expanding villages for fluent Cherokee speakers, $10 million for crisis shelters for homeless citizens or victims of domestic violence, $7 million to continue sustainability grants for Cherokee community organizations and buildings, and $5 million for land acquisition and development for housing projects.