As we strive to illuminate how grants touch lives, today we bring you guest blogger Joe Seidenberg of the Red Feather Development Group, who shares how their Native Home Resource Network brings sustainable housing to reservation communities.
The Red Feather Development Group
Today there are over 1 million tribal members residing on American Indian reservations, 40% of whom live in homes that do not meet the federal standard for “adequate housing”. This compares to just 6% of the rest of the US population living in substandard housing. Red Feather Development Group (Red Feather) partners with the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe in Arizona to provide sustainable solutions to the housing needs within their communities. Our programs empower homeowners to weatherize and repair their homes through hands-on do-it-yourself workshops and assisting with building materials donations, and contractor referrals; strengthening local economies through workforce development and employment opportunities, and providing home repairs for the most vulnerable and less-able bodied members of the community.
The Native Home Resource Network
In 2016, Red Feather piloted our Native Home Resource Network (NHRN) with a grant from Wells Fargo Community Giving. The NHRN is a case management program that helps tribal families resolve health and safety risks relating to their homes. Case managers work directly with the families to first prioritize the most urgent housing needs and then determine what resources the family is able to provide. Often the family will have money to purchase materials, but will need assistance with labor; or they will have family members who can perform the labor, but need assistance obtaining the materials. Once the needed resources are identified we leverage our national network of materials manufacturers, government agencies, and individual donors for funding; and we leverage our local network of professional contractors for implementation.
One case in particular was for a Hopi tribal elder, who lives with her two children and one grandchild in cinder block home built by her late husband. The roof of the home had deteriorated significantly over the years resulting in excessive leaks, mold, and structural damage. By leveraging a USDA 504 grant, APS weatherization dollars, and crowdfunding campaign we were able to rebuild the roof, mitigate fire risks and indoor air quality hazards, and weatherize the home, which included new drywall and insulation, sealing air leaks, and improving ventilation. The case management funding from Wells Fargo allowed us to assemble the necessary resources to pay for and complete this project.
The Roof Before and After
Wells Fargo funding is geared toward organizations working to help low and moderate income individuals and families. In Arizona, their funding priorities are community development (housing, economic and workforce development to revitalize and stabilize communities), education (geared toward academic achievement for low income children), and human services (basic needs, access to health care, and child care). In addition to Wells Fargo’s general giving, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation funds affordable and sustainable housing development and investing in neighborhood revitalization efforts to build stronger communities.
Images and logo courtesy of the Red Feather Development Group