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Grant funding will address critical housing needs on Navajo Nation

74-year-old Vietnam veteran Larry Yazzie's leaking roof before it was fixed by Yee Ha’ólníi Doo's housing initiative.
Ames Meyers
Yee Ha’ólníi Doo
The Yee Ha’ólníi Doo's housing initiative fixes the roof of 74-year-old Vietnam veteran Larry Yazzie.

The Arizona Department of Housing awarded a $2 million grant to an Indigenous-led, Utah-based nonprofit to address housing needs on the Navajo Nation.

It’s the first time money from the state’s housing trust fund has been allocated to a nonprofit group.

Yee Ha’ólníi Doo formed in 2020 to provide pandemic relief to Navajo and Hopi people. It’s now focused on cultural revitalization, economic development, food security, and housing.

Interim executive director Mary Francis says safe housing is a fundamental human right.

"It plays a role in shaping lives and building strong communities. So we really want to roll up our sleeves and get some work done because it’s much needed."

Francis says the grant money will cover repairs and improvements to homes for at least one hundred Navajo families living on tribal land…anything from roof repairs to new wood stoves to wheelchair ramps. Families in need will be identified through chapter houses and community leaders.

Many Navajo homes lack running water, electricity, or reliable heating.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.