Chuck Hoskin: Cherokee Nation extends assistance to homeowners

August 8, 2022

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Clifford and Esther Littledave, of Mayes County, Oklahoma, recently found help through the Cherokee Nation Homeowners Assistance Fund. The program helps eligible citizens who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Anadisgoi/Cherokee Nation

Help Available for Cherokee Owners Facing Hardship Due to the Pandemic

Monday, August 8, 2022

Cherokee Nation

All families deserve to live in safety and dignity, without fear of losing their homes. During the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, some Cherokee homeowners have fallen behind on their mortgages or fallen into financial difficulty making payments. To ensure Cherokee families can stay in their homes, the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority is expanding the tribe’s Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) program. Qualified homeowners can apply for forgivable loans through the HAF. The loans are fully funded by federal dollars as part of the US bailout. They can be used to cover overdue mortgage payments, overdue home insurance premiums, overdue property taxes, or other debts that could displace homeowners if not paid. Once approved, funding goes directly to the mortgage loan officer. The financial assistance program is already helping Cherokees find more stability and security in their homes. The pandemic has taken a toll on many of our fellow Cherokees, increasing their physical, mental and financial stress. But it was also an opportunity for all of us to come together in the spirit of Gadugi, working together for the greater good. We know this program will directly impact hundreds of Cherokee families, while strengthening our communities and having positive generational impacts for everyone. Cherokees on our reservation and neighboring areas have access to the Tribe’s HAF program. The Housing Authority will give priority to homeowners located in counties comprising the reservation, which encompasses all or part of Oklahoma’s 14 northeastern counties. It will then extend to Cherokees who own homes in a county in Oklahoma, Kansas, or Arkansas that borders the Cherokee Nation reservation. Availability is also based on household income. Previously, this program was only open to people with mortgages through the Cherokee Nation or the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority, but now we are opening it to all Cherokee mortgage holders who meet the eligibility criteria. The expanded Homeowners Relief Fund will be available until funds are exhausted, which our housing experts estimate through 2026. For more information and a full list of eligibility criteria, visit www.hacn.org /HAF or call 918-456-5482. For some families, finding affordable housing is a lifelong struggle that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We know the need for stable and secure housing is high, and it will remain so as the economy adjusts. Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, the Council, and my administration made housing a high priority with the landmark Housing, Jobs, and Sustainable Communities Act in 2019, which was renewed and expanded earlier this year. HJSCA has provided more than $120 million to meet the diverse housing needs of the Cherokee people, the largest real estate investment in history. More than that, HJSCA has incorporated into Cherokee Nation law that housing is one of the Cherokee Nation’s highest priorities. Setting this tone is what has spurred programs such as the Homeowners Relief Fund and will spur many more ideas in the future. The HAF is just one of many programs offered by the Cherokee Nation to meet the housing needs of our citizens. Others include the New Construction Home Ownership Program to pave the way for home ownership for Cherokee families, housing repairs for seniors and disabled Cherokees who need assistance. to maintain their home, emergency rental assistance, etc. A full list of programs is available on the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation website, https://www.hacn.org/.


Chuck Hoskin Jr.
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the 18th elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. He is only the second elected Principal Chief of the Vinita Cherokee Nation, the first being Thomas Buffington, who served from 1899 to 1903. Prior to being elected Principal Chief, Hoskin served as the Tribe’s Secretary of State. He was also a member of the Cherokee Nation Council, representing District 11 for six years.