TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Leaders from the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Nation Businesses and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation gathered to officially break ground Thursday on a 23-acre housing addition in Tahlequah named the Cherokee ᎦᎵᏦᏕ (Galitsode) Subdivision, which will be home to dozens of Cherokee families when complete.
Thursday’s groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction for 24 new homes being built as part of the Cherokee Nation’s historic $120 million Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act created by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and passed by the Council of the Cherokee Nation.
As the need increases beyond the initial 24 houses, dozens more homes can be built on the property.
“In 2023, too many families still struggle with having safe, affordable homes. Deputy Chief Warner and I created the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act in 2019 to ensure we invested $30 million into housing needs across the Cherokee Nation Reservation. We amended that legislation just last year and with the support of the Council of the Cherokee Nation, set aside another $120 million for housing security efforts,” Chief Hoskin said. “We have built or repaired hundreds of Cherokee homes under this act so far and have many more in the planning stages. This new neighborhood in Tahlequah is going to help dozens of Cherokee families. A good government makes life better for its people and for future generations. Housing programs we invest in today will have generational impacts. I’m proud of this important work and am excited about what we will accomplish in the coming year not just here in the capital city, but in many more communities throughout the Reservation.”
The 24 new homes are part of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Construction Homeownership Program for Cherokee families who have applied for housing but do not have their own land.
Each home will feature three bedrooms and two bathrooms along with a two-car garage. Each will range in size from between 1,745 square feet to 1,844 square feet. They will feature low-cost maintenance and features including brick siding, and each home will be constructed with a closet that also serves as a storm shelter.
“For those of us who have never faced housing insecurity issues, it can be easy to take that basic necessity for granted,” said Deputy Chief Warner. “These new homes are going to be a blessing to 24 Cherokee families, a place for each of them to find comfort and safety. It takes all of us working together, including our community partners, to find solutions to issues such as housing insecurity. This is a great project and I can’t wait until we are able to celebrate with the families who move into their new homes.”
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.
“This project is going to give 24 landless families a place to live,” District 2 Councilor Candessa Tehee said. “I am hearing from citizens throughout the Tahlequah community that people need affordable housing, and this is going to make an impact. People always talk about how the American dream is having a home. Well, this is going to give so many Cherokee families access to that American dream.”
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. Future projects are planned for Rogers, Adair, Cherokee, Muskogee, Delaware, Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes, Sequoyah, Nowata 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.