Elderyly Housing Complex on Mission Road.
FORT HALL — On June 18, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the Fort Hall Housing Authority was competitively awarded $500,000 under the Indian Community Development Block Grant.
The award is one of the 85 Native American communities throughout the country that will receive funds to improve housing conditions and stimulate community development for residents, including funding construction projects that generate local job opportunities. Projects funded by the ICDBG program are highly competitive grants and must principally benefit low- and moderate-income persons.
Lorraine Shay, Housing Director, said the ICDBG funds would be used to develop site ready infrastructure for 20 scattered single-family units on trust land on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The proposed infrastructure plan is to install power lines, engineering fees, community water connections and fees, well drilling, septic systems and septic permit fees, access roads/driveways, and any excavation and backfill.
She said the ICDBG funds would be used to offset the cost of a quality home, bringing the mortgage payments and construction cost of the home to a level that is affordable. The project will be developed in two phases and will serve families that are on the housing authority’s waiting lists. The housing staff is already in the preliminary planning phase for the 20 families that comprise of 70 Native American Indians.
Construction is scheduled to begin within 90 days of the grant award. Homes in phase I are as follows: three in the Fort Hall area; two in the Buffalo Lodge area; one in Ross Fork, three in Gibson and one in Bannock Creek.
In phase II, Shay said there would be five homes in the Gibson area, four homes in the Buffalo Lodge area and one home in the Fort Hall area.
Shay also said they received a $480,000 ICDBG in 2016 to completely renovate the Elderly Complex and that was completed and closed out in 2018, which helped with the past performance points under this newly awarded competitive grant.
Work completed at the Elderly Complex was removal of asbestos from nine rental units and the two community restrooms; removal of two trees and tree roots, along with replacing sidewalks; the wooded fencing in the court yard was replaced; electrical fixtures and outlets were all replaced; bathrooms were updated with new tiled showers; floors were tiled with non slip tiles; new exhaust fans with heaters were installed with separate switches to control the heater separate from the fan. In addition new sinks and toilets were installed.
Other Elderly Complex work completed was new patio doors were installed on seven units. A new security system with infrared cameras inside and outside was installed. Commercial washers and dryers, along with a tiled laundry room were installed. The community restrooms were tiled and handicapped stools and sinks were installed. New carpet was put in each apartment, lobby and hallways. New doors were installed on closets and finishing work completed in the units. A metal roof was installed and the outside trim was painted.
Also, Shay said the Housing Authority has not had any audit findings for the past 21 years, which also helped with the points awarded. Shay expressed the Housing Board Members: Miranda Dixey, Chemille Fisher, Carlee Osborne, Dustin Davis and Kevin Callahan have all been encouraging and promoting the need to apply for more grants/loans to address the shortage of housing on the Reservation.
Shay further expressed it has been extremely advantageous to the Housing Authority to have Kevin Callahan, council member on the Board because he is able to directly communicate with the Fort Hall Business Council on Housing plans and activities.