PRESCOTT, AZ – August 31, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — On Wednesday, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick had the opportunity to join tribal communities from across Arizona and neighboring states at the first inaugural Navajo Housing Summit, where she delivered the conference’s introductory keynote speech. Rep. Kirkpatrick congratulated conference leaders and membership on their success in organizing the historic gathering and discussed her ongoing efforts to serve Native American communities.
Congresswoman Kirkpatrick represents the largest Native American population of any congressional district and has worked hard to raise Washington’s awareness of the unique housing challenges that tribal communities have to deal with. She has strongly supported the efforts of the Navajo Housing Authority (NHA), which administers tribal housing resources under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA)—legislation that has helped improve housing conditions for Navajo families for over 14 years.
This summit, the first in the organization’s history, was convened to facilitate information-sharing and to empower attendees to collaborate with housing partners at the tribal, state and federal levels to better address the Navajo Nation’s needs.
“Growing up in the White Mountains gave me the opportunity to see firsthand what life is like for folks in Indian Country,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “I understand the issues tribal communities face, and I am dedicated to making sure that Washington does not allow Native American families to slip through the cracks. The Navajo Housing Authority has a significant impact on District One’s tribal communities, and I am honored to be able to assist them in their efforts.”
Working closely with the NHA, the Congresswoman introduced the Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act last year to correct a serious flaw in NAHASDA that makes some disabled Native Veterans, their families and their survivors ineligible for housing assistance. In April, Rep. Kirkpatrick brought a delegation from Washington to Window Rock for a field hearing on this important measure. As a result of her efforts, the legislation passed through both the House and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs unanimously. The Congresswoman is fighting for the bill to be considered by the full Senate when they reconvene in mid-September.
“We cannot allow Washington to deny Native American Veterans housing benefits because they chose to serve their country,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “The Navajo Housing Authority informed me of this injustice, and they have provided tremendous support and guidance as we have fought to correct it. I am proud of what we have done together, and I am dedicated to continuing to push the federal government to honor its commitments to Greater Arizona’s Native American Veterans and tribal communities.”
As the daughter and niece of Veterans, Rep. Kirkpatrick has been working hard to make Washington meet its obligations to America’s heroes. Congressional District One includes much of the Navajo Nation and 10 other tribes, and meeting the unique needs of Veterans on tribal lands has been one of the Congresswoman’s particular focuses. In addition to her efforts to address this problem in NAHASDA, she is also pushing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to fix a similar flaw with the Housing Improvement Program. Last year, she introduced the Rural American Indian Veterans Health Care Improvement Act to make it easier for them to access quality health care options.