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Tohono O'odham get $3.45 million in COVID relief funds for housing, roads

The Tohono O’odham Nation plans to build new homes and roads with $3.45 million in federal COVID relief funding that is heading their way, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva announced Tuesday.

The Ki:Ki Housing Association, a designated Tohono O’odham agency, will use the funding to build two homes and roads that will give better access to four villages on the nation. Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said that it’s “much needed competitive” funding.

“The Tohono O’odham Nation is grateful for this much needed competitive allocation of (block grant) American Rescue Plan funds,” he wrote in a statement released Tuesday, saying the “greatly needed funds will bring significant upgrades to the reservation’s infrastructure including improvements in water delivery and residential housing construction.”

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, also in Southern Arizona, similarly received millions of dollars in tax credits from an Arizona Department of Housing program earlier in the year to build more than 200 homes on their reservation southwest of Tucson. The Tohono O’odham also received $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to house Native American veterans who are part of their tribe.

Grijalva is the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. He said he plans to push for more “fair and adequate funding for tribal housing and infrastructure in our COVID-19 pandemic response.” He said in the news release from his office that he’s “thrilled to see the direct impact” of that advocacy.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. in February 2020

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