Brief History of Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians Housing
The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians began our mission to improve the lives of our tribal members and their health and safety through housing initiatives on March, 19, 1997 when the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority (“CIHA”) as a Tribally Designated Housing Entity was established, as a political subdivision of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians a federally recognized Indian Tribe. CIHA maintained and distributed the annual Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and managed the housing programs of the Picayune Rancheria Indian Tribe for to tribal members for over 21 years.
In November of 2018 the Tribe dissolved the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority and formed the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians Housing Department. As the Housing Department we are now part of the everyday workings of the Tribal Government Administration office but still carry out and have the same mission and goals for our tribal members housing needs. We will not cease our housing ambitions until every tribal member lives in standard, safe and healthy homes.
The mission of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians (PRCI) Housing Department is to eliminate substandard living conditions by providing home and housing services, while protecting tribal lands, tribal families and maintain healthy, safe and culturally sensitive communities. It was expected that creation of the PRCI Housing Department would help alleviate those conditions, reduce crime and disease while creating employment opportunities in the construction of low rent housing. PRCI Housing Department carries out low-income housing activities for tribal members living both on and off the reservation. PRCI Housing Department has only accomplished some of those things but would like to take care of all those in need.
Source of Revenue:
The main source of revenue is through federally funded grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, authorized by NAHASDA. The PRCI Housing Department is responsible for maintaining 48 low-income rental units and 4 Mutual Help (Homebuyer) units. The PRCI Housing Department uses program funding for the rental units which provides operating, maintenance, tenant counseling and modernization. All of these units were purchased in prior years utilizing the 1937 Housing Act – traditional Indian housing grant funds.
Regretfully substandard housing conditions continue to exist on the Rancheria today. We have families living in used mobile homes without water, sewer, and electric. Overcrowding continues to be a serious problem due to lack of decent low rent housing. In the more extreme cases, families without indoor cooking facilities prepare every meal outdoors. We are requesting additional funding to alleviate some of our housing issues our Tribe faces today.
The Housing Departments administration staff oversee the day-to-day operation of the housing department, from answering phones, sorting mail, ensuring policy compliance and grant requirements. Administration is also responsible for ensuring that Tribal Council and Housing Board approved policies and directives are carried out.
The PRCI Housing Department is funded through the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) appropriations, which provides for the operation and administration of current programs. In order for the tribe to provide programs that are not regulated by NAHASDA of HUD guidelines, the tribe must apply for grants from other federal, state or nonprofit agencies.
The Housing Staff have the primary responsibility to administer the applications for housing received by the PRCI Housing Department and to provide housing information to tribal members. What this entails is the staff within the department assists tribal members complete applications for various housing services and compiling the necessary documentation required to complete the application file. It is the tribal member’s responsibility to provide any documentation requested by the staff.
Applicants cannot receive services until all required documentation is on file. This includes a complete and signed application; Release of Information Forms signed by all adults in the household, proof of tribal enrollment, copies of Social Security cards for all members of the household, and income verification for all adult members of the household.
Upon the Receipt of an application, a file is made for the tribal member and their information is entered in the database. This database then ranks them according to their point score and places them on the waiting list for the program they have applied for.
The point scores criteria are the single most important factor in the priority which tribal members receive services. Elders are eligible to receive the most points, thus giving them priority on our waiting lists. An applicant’s place on the waiting list can move up or down as new applications are received or as applicants receive services and are removed from the waiting list. The low-rent program for PRCI housing rentals is the only program that has a waiting list.
When a tribal member has a question regarding our programs, wants to know the status of their application, or needs assistance contacting community resources, they should contact a PRCI Housing Department employee who will gladly assist them.