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Senator suggests cap on funds until Navajo Housing Authority corrects issues

Chris Ramirez
June 06, 2017 06:17 PM

There may be serious problems coming for thousands of Navajo families waiting on housing.

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The 4 Investigates team earlier this year exposed how the tribal entity responsible for building out public housing projects has squandered away millions. Now Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., believes Congress should cap and limit the funds the Navajo tribe gets until it cleans up its act.

McCain's office put out a report about the Navajo Housing Authority. In it, McCain states the financial problems are bigger than what KOB reported.

The Arizona senator's office also investigated, finding even more problems. McCain believes inappropriately used funds to travel to Hawaii and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Recent housing projects have been a disaster. For example, the Bluestone Development located 35 miles west of Gallup has turned into a money pit. It does not have a reliable water supply or a wastewater treatment system. The findings reveal NHA paid for water drilling, but after 450 feet, drillers hit sandstone.

McCain believes Navajo veterans remain underserved by the NHA. The report states "NHA appears unable to develop and adhere to its development plans. Goals for new home construction are consistently missed. In the absence of executable construction plans, NHA housing goals will remain elusive to the grave detriment of the tribal members of the Navajo Nation."

In February, 4 Investigates spoke to NHA Executive Director AJ Yazzie about many of the problems.

"One of the things we've done is create a Navajo needs study for the Navajo people for the first time ever," NHA Executive Director AJ Yazzie said. "We also created some management infrastructure, automated management information systems that help us better plan and enabled us to identify floor-impacted areas so we don't build where floods are.

McCain isn't buying. He is recommending the federal government cap or housing grants to the Navajos. Many worry such a move could seriously hurt the tribe. The Navajo Nation is in a housing crisis, and its people remain some of the poorest of all Americans.

Credits

Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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