At the groundbreaking for 30 new homes in Vian are, from the left, Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett, Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor David Thornton, Housing Authority Executive Director Gary Cooper, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, CNB Chief Executive Officer Shawn Slaton, Housing Authority Chairman of the Board James Simmons, CNB board members Janelle Fullbright and Jerry Holderby, Cherokee Nation Treasurer Lacey Horn, CNB board members Sam Hart and Dan Carter, Vian City Councilor E.O. Smith, Vian Mayor Dennis Fletcher and Vian City Councilor Emmanuel Drew.
The Cherokee Nation held a groundbreaking in Vian Tuesday for 30 new homes the tribe is building.
The three-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot homes are being built through the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program on six acres of property owned by Cherokee Nation Businesses.
“This will help 30 Cherokee families become new or first-time homeowners, and that is a monumental achievement for them,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “I am so proud of our New Home Construction Program and how it is improving the lives of our Cherokee people family by family. It is a program that is second to none across Indian Country. I strongly believe access to a safe home is critical for making people feel secure, and also it improves their health and raises hope for a prosperous life.”
Baker implemented the New Home Construction Program in 2012. The Vian home recipients will be selected from the Housing Authority’s waiting list of program applicants who do not own land.
The new addition in Vian sits just on the edge of town off State Highway 82.
Vian Mayor Dennis Fletcher said the Cherokee Nation’s investment is a blessing to the town of about 1,400.
“The new homes are going to be a great asset to our community. They’ll allow people to buy new homes that may have never been able to afford them before,” Fletcher said. “Any time we get the opportunity to work with the Cherokee Nation, the town of Vian is excited about it because we know it’s going to be done proper, and we appreciate everything they do to help us out.”
The Vian homes are slated for completion in early fall.
Schools in the area benefit since they receive $2,800 in federal impact aid for each enrolled student who resides in the homes.
“I really appreciate the Housing Authority and CNB for helping to make this a reality,” said Tribal Councilor David Thornton of Vian. “This program is great for our people. In addition to helping citizens achieve homeownership, it’s going to improve the school system for the children that go to school here through the money the school will receive in impact aid.”
Cherokee Nation Businesses is also overseeing the construction of 29 homes in West Siloam Springs and 23 homes in Roland through the New Home Construction Program.
“Part of our mission at Cherokee Nation Businesses is to provide economic development and employment opportunities to Cherokee Nation citizens. This project allows us to achieve both of those goals,” said Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett.
Since the announcement of the program in April 2012, the Cherokee Nation has built 343 homes and has more than 125 under construction throughout the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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