TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is launching an online assessment program and investing $4 million to help Cherokee homeowners living in the reservation repair plumbing problems caused by the February 2021 winter storm event.
The new online assessment is now available at https://zfrmz.com/FhWNwtxWVYCUlEdzUAlh. Completing the assessment will allow Cherokee Nation staff to assess the damage to the primary residences of Cherokee homeowners located in the 14-county reservation and develop a response plan.
“As the recent winter storms moved out of the area, and even as temperatures began to warm up, many Cherokee homeowners throughout Northeast Oklahoma were left dealing with the damages caused by frozen pipes,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We recognize the enormity of the situation. Without access to water, Cherokee citizens may be forced to go without, or to find other more-costly and more-inconvenient sources away from their homes. On top of this, they are already feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to do everything we can to help keep them home and keep them safe, while at the same time preventing the spread of COVID-19. Clean, running water for sanitation and handwashing is paramount to preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
Once a qualifying Cherokee homeowner has completed the online assessment, Cherokee Nation staff will review the specifics of each case.
“To help expedite these repairs and ensure we can reconnect water supplies to the Cherokees impacted by this storm, we may contact a third-party contractor to assess the damage to a homeowner’s property and repair it,” said Chief of Staff Todd Enlow. “This is why it is so important that Cherokees provide all information and documentation requested through the online assessment. Incomplete submissions will slow the process, and we are committed to sending help as quickly as possible.”
Cherokee citizens living in the reservation and who rent should work with their individual landlords to address plumbing problems caused by the recent winter weather. Landlords are responsible for maintaining “in good and safe working order” all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, according to Oklahoma statute.
Along with the plumbing assistance program being offered to Cherokee homeowners, the Cherokee Nation also assisted communities throughout Oklahoma by providing food, water, firewood and other necessities to families impacted by the recent winter storm.
Funding for the emergency plumbing assistance is provided through the Cherokee Nation’s Respond, Recover and Rebuild plan.