TAHLEQUAH, OK – The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation (HACN) continues to offer the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with eligibility extending for the first time to Cherokee citizens living in certain areas outside Oklahoma, including in parts of Arkansas and Kansas.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available to assist eligible renter households that have suffered financial hardship with rental payments as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. HACN offers assistance that may be used to cover a portion of past due rental payments as well as future rental payments for both residential dwelling and residential lot rent such as mobile home lot rent.
“As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to plague many Cherokee families, the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation continues to be a force of good,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is one more way the Housing Authority is helping Cherokee families continue to recover from the worst public health crisis we have seen this generation. The temporary extension of these benefits to many of our at-large citizens will be particularly impactful.”
Applicants who meet the guidelines will be eligible for rental assistance through funds that were part of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s allocation to states, U.S. territories, and tribes for emergency rental assistance in response to the COVID 19-pandemic.
“This is a program that continues to bring much needed relief for renters to stay in their homes as well as landlords who have been hard-hit by the economic effects of the pandemic,” said Jerri Ann Killer, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation Interim Director. “I believe we’ve made some significant strides to a strong recovery. The recovery began with making sure everyone has safe and stable housing. This program continues to ensue people can stay in their homes once the pandemic had ended.”
Additional funding is available for both new applicants and previous recipients.
Eligibility criteria include the following:
• At least one household member must be a Cherokee Nation citizen.
• Applicants must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling or residential lot rent in the state of Oklahoma; in the Arkansas counties of Benton, Crawford or Washington; or in the Kansas counties of Chautauqua, Cherokee, Labette or Montgomery.
• The landlord must be willing to complete a W-9 and accept payment from the Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation. Refusal to complete a W-9 and accept payment from the Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation may result in the applicant’s ineligibility.
• Household income may not exceed 80 percent of the Area Median Income. First preference given to households under 50 percent Area Median Income.
The extension of housing assistance to some at-large Cherokee citizens – those living outside Cherokee Nation’s reservation covering all or parts of 14 counties in northeast Oklahoma – drew praise from members of the Council of the Cherokee Nation.
“I appreciate the extension of these benefits to Cherokees living at some of the at-large areas,” said Council member Johnny Kidwell, one of the legislative branch’s at-large representatives. “At-large Council members have encouraged the administration and the Housing Authority to take reasonable, sustainable steps to help as many Cherokees as possible deal with the COVID pandemic, no matter where they live. I applaud the administration for this temporary expansion of benefits, as it will help many living inside and outside the Cherokee Nation.”