8 Cherokee families receive keys to new homes in Nowata

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

NOWATA — The dream of homeownership is now a reality for a pair of brothers and six other Cherokee families in Nowata. They received keys Monday to their new homes built through the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation’s New Home Construction Program, according to a press release issued by the tribe last week.

The eight homes in the southwest edge of Nowata were built on vacant property the county owned but donated to the Cherokee Nation in 2009, which the tribe used for the housing program started in 2012 by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Applicants who signed up for the program without land of their own were successfully able to move into new homes, and the city now has new infrastructure, according to the release.

“The New Home Construction Program is improving the landscape of our communities, and, more importantly, it is transforming the lives of our citizens in the Cherokee Nation,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We invested in the town of Nowata and built eight new houses, which means eight Cherokee families will now have a safe and secure permanent home. Making homeownership a possibility and helping more Cherokee people attain that dream will strengthen the tribe and enable those Cherokee families to grow healthier and happier.”

Since the announcement of the program in April 2012, the Cherokee Nation has reportedly built 200 new homes and has another 220 under construction throughout the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.

The Boyles brothers are now next-door neighbors and have nice, new brick homes so their children can grow up together. Six other families will also enjoy an up to 1,300-square-foot home for an affordable $350 a month payment, which includes insurance.

“Receiving this new home means a lot to our family. It’s pretty much a new start for us,” said Derrick Boyles, who works at the new Cherokee Casino South Coffeyville. “Our children are ecstatic about having a new home, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity as a family.”

The Boyles had always rented homes previously.

“To see the culmination of the hard work and great partnership between the Cherokee Nation, Nowata County and town of Nowata is truly remarkable. A great working relationship between these governments has produced eight new homes for Cherokee families,” said Tribal Councilor Dick Lay, of Ochelata. “The tribe’s commitment to providing nice, affordable housing to citizens is unwavering, as is instilling a sense of pride in families throughout the tribe’s jurisdiction that only homeownership can provide.”

Since the New Home Construction Program is not funded with Native American Housing and Self Determination Act grant money, the program is not limited to low-income Cherokee citizens, the release stated. Applicants must only show they have an income level of at least $15,000 per year, and applicants who own land receive preference.

“The Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation is so very proud of this program and the positive change it is making in the lives of our citizens,” said Gary Cooper, executive director of the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation. “This program is so special because it helps our citizens achieve the American dream of homeownership and creates stability for families throughout the Cherokee Nation.”

For more information on the New Home Construction Program, call 800-837-2869 or visit www.hacn.org.