Brief History of Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority
The Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority (“CIHA”) was established March 19, 1997 as a Tribally Designated Housing Entity. CIHA is a political subdivision of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians a federally recognized Indian Tribe. CIHA is the designated recipient of the annual Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG). The CIHA manage the housing programs of the Picayune Rancheria Indian Tribe.
The mission of the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority 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 CIHA would help alleviate those conditions, reduce crime and disease while creating employment opportunities in the construction of low rent housing. CIHA carries out low-income housing activities for tribal members living both on and off the reservation. CIHA 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 federal grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, authorized by NAHASDA. The Housing Authority is responsible for maintaining 21 low-income rental units. CIHA’s housing program for the rental units 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.
Sadly, our work is still not finished. Substandard housing conditions 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 Administration Department oversees the day-to-day operation of the Housing Authority, from answering phones, sorting mail, ensuring policy compliance and grant requirements. Administration is responsible for ensuring that the Board of Commissioners (BOC) received timely and accurate information in regards to the overall operations of CIHA. Administration is also responsible for ensuring that BOC approved policies and directives are carried out.
CIHA 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 CIHA to provide programs that are not regulated by NAHASDA of HUD guidelines, CIHA applies for grants from other federal, state or nonprofit agencies.
The Housing Specialists have the primary responsibility to administer the applications for housing received by the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority 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 on 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 score criteria is 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. Each Program which the housing authority offers has its’ own waiting list. 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.
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 CIHA employee who will gladly assist them.