The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) and Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben are pleased to announce a $5 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). MBCI will use the funds to assist with the construction of rental units in the Pearl River community in Neshoba County.
“We are extremely grateful for this award from the Indian Housing Block Grant program that will allow us to meet the housing challenges facing tribal members,” said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben. “Choctaw Housing Authority and my office are working together to make sure these grant funds are maximized to benefit the Choctaw people. I want to thank HUD for putting money into Indian Country and to CHA staff for the hard work they put into the application process.”
The Choctaw Housing Authority (CHA) serves as the non-profit, affordable housing agency for the Tribe and submitted the grant. The organization was among the 52 Native American groups funded out of 200 applicants and received the maximum amount of $5 million.
“This was a very competitive process and the Choctaw Housing Authority is honored to have received funding for this substantial amount to provide quality housing for Choctaw families, said Eric Willis, executive director of the housing authority.
In an interview with Indian Country Today, Hunter Kurtz, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing said the funding to improve the lives of so many families is what makes this job so rewarding. “We’re helping over three and a half million families every day through our various programs. And the fact that I can make a difference in someone’s life, that’s why I work in this industry. It’s the high you get from helping somebody in that situation.”
The housing authority has constructed 136 homes since 2009 and currently have 14 under contract, for a total of 150 unites in ten years. A total of 30 have been funded since Tribal Chief Ben took office.