Plan Introduced to Fix Troubled Navajo Veterans' Housing Program

Feb 22, 2017

A recent audit of the Navajo Nation veteran’s housing program found years of mismanagement. Now, the tribe’s Veterans Administration has submitted a plan to fix it. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

World War II veteran and Code Talker Tom Jones Jr., 89, sits near a wood stove, which is the only source of heat in his house.
Credit Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times

The internal audit found poor accountability of nearly 2 million dollars in building materials, along with shoddy construction that resulted in uninhabitable homes. In addition, some veterans who were ineligible for the program were still selected to receive housing. More than 350 applicants are currently on the waiting list.

Navajo President Russell Begaye says the VA’s plan calls for better quality services and increased fiscal accountability. It would require more sophisticated documentation and tracking of housing projects designed to benefit the tribe’s veterans.

The VA’s housing program is designed to reduce homelessness and provide construction jobs for Navajo veterans.