HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 2018-08-16
Lee Jones
(206) 220-5356 (work) or (804) 363-7018 (cell)
For Release
August 16, 2018

Native village's 363 residents depend on hovercraft for delivery of food, water & other essential supplies

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a $449,000 "imminent threat" grant under its Indian Community Development Block Grant program to the Federally-recognized Native Village of Napakiak to replace a boat and hovercraft landing destroyed by a "catastrophic" slope failure in May 2018.

Established in the 19th century on the north bank of the Kuskokwin River in western Alaska, 18 miles southwest of Bethel and 400 miles due west from Anchorage. It has 363 predominantly-Yup'ik residents who depend on a hovercraft for the delivery of water, food and other essentials of life. Delivery by air of these goods would be "exponentially" more expensive and there is no road system connecting the village to others.

"Most of us don't give much thought to how the food and essentials on a grocery's shelves get there," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Jeff McMorris. "Not so in isolated, rural Alaska villages like Napakiak. When the supply line breaks, the lifeline is cut. Fortunately, imminent threat grants enable HUD to move quickly to help villages restore their connections with the rest of the world."

The slope failure resulted in the loss of 50 linear feet of embankment, including a portion that supported the boat and hovercraft landing. Local experts believe the slope failure from a non-recurring impingement on the River's channel upstream causing increased water velocity as the River passes the community and the bank to deteriorate rapidly. The event was independently verified by a representative of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Environmentally-Threatened Communities program.

The $449,000 will be used to design and build a new landing for the hovercraft, barges and residents boats as well as a new 20-foot-wide access road to the landing. The request for funding from the Village was supported by the Division of Community Affairs of the State of Alaska, association of Village Council Presidents and the City of Napakiak. No other Federal, state or local funds are available for the project.

HUD imminent threat grants is a component of the Indian Community Development Block Grant program authorized by the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act. Imminent threat funds are provided to help Federally-recognized Tribes and villages that request them to address threats that "represent a non-recurring, unique or unusual circumstance" and "no funds from other tribal or Federal sources are available to address the problem." Grants of up to $450,000 may be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis in most circumstances and may be up to $900,000 in Presidentially-declared disaster areas.

The ICDBG Program provides eligible grantees - an Indian tribe, band, group, or nation (including Alaska Indians, Aleut, and Eskimos) or Alaska Native village which has established a relationship to the Federal government - with direct grants for use in developing viable Indian and Alaska Native Communities, including decent housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities, primarily for low- and moderate-income persons. Most ICDBG funds are awarded in a national competition every year.


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Content Archived: December 13, 2019