Navajo Nation to distribute ARPA funds to help rebuild their community

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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (ABC4) – The Navajo Nation announced their plan to allocate Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF) they received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

The U.S. Treasury awarded the tribe a total appropriation of $2,079,461,464.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law March 11, 2021. It provided $350 billion for state and local governments as a form of revenue replacement due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resolution CJY-41-21, which was passed in August by the tribal council, established how the $2 billion dollars were to be distributed among services within the Navajo community.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed off on the following reimbursement allocations currently totaling $389 million:

$185 million for electricity, septic systems, broadband, and other utilities previously funded through the Síhasin Fund but defunded from the CARES act.

$12 million for the Navajo Department of Health for continued COVID-19 testing, emergency food assistance to high-risk patients, and other health and human services. 

$31 million for the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development to provide artisan and business economic relief grants to Navajo Nation businesses.

$6 million for the Judicial Branch Programs and Courts serving the entire Navajo Nation to assist in addressing the backlog of court cases

$8 million for heavy equipment including backhoes, vehicles, trailers, and tractors, and others.

$2 million for burial assistance for families that have lost a family member due to COVID19.

$145 million for Executive Branch programs and offices to implement the Fiscal Recovery Funds over the course of five-years.

“With these initial allocations totaling $389 million, we are reimbursing funding sources that were previously appropriated through other sources of funding such as the Síhasin Fund, UUFB, and CARES Act funds,” said President Nez.

“At this point, everything is on the table for consideration including hardship assistance for the Navajo people,” he said.

The $389 million allocation may increase as the Department of Justice continues reviewing additional appropriations that were previously funded to determine if they meet the guidelines and requirements under the American Rescue Plan Act.

“It’s an enormous task to implement this level of funding,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer, “The Navajo Nation has never received this amount of funds from the federal government at one time.”

Lizer said he wants to make sure they are complying with all U.S. Treasury guidelines and requirements along with their own internal processes.

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