HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 2018-08-21
Lee Jones
(206) 220-5356 (work) or (804) 363-7018 (cell)
For Release
August 21, 2018

Engineers say December 2017 Freezing Event Which Left 25 Percent of Residents Without Water Now Threatens Viability of Village's Entire Water & Systems

SELAWIK - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a $450,000 "imminent threat" grant under its Indian Community Development Block Grant program to the Federally-recognized Native Village of Selawik to restore water service to 25 percent of its residents who have lost it as a result of a December, 2017 freezing event and to insure the long-term viability of the water system for all 800 of the Village's residents.

The 2010 U.S. Census reports that Selawik is a village of 829 predominantly Inuit residents some 70 miles southwest of Kotzebue and 480 miles northwest of Anchorage in the Northwest Arctic Borough.

A December, 2017 "freezing event" left 25 percent of the Village's residents without water and sewer service. The City of Selawik has been unable to restore service. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium engineers confirmed the service interruption on a site visit in March, 2018 and also advised that without immediate repairs, the Village's entire water and sewer systems would fail leave all of its residents with water and sanitation services. "The whole system is in dire need of repair and upgrade," Tribal Administrator Tonya Block advised HUD in its request for the funding in May.

The $450,000 from HUD's imminent threat grant will be used to repair the entire water and sewer system and will include leveling the systems' housing, re-insulation, repairing vacuum leaks replacement of valves and installation of new controls. The Village's request advises that no other state or Federal funds are available to make the upgrades. The Village will receive the funds once a grant agreement with HUD is completed.

"Arctic winters are notoriously hard both on people and on the technology that supports their day-to-day lives," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Jeff McMorris. "That was particularly true this past winter for residents of Selawik, many of whom are still dealing with the consequences. It's our hope these HUD funds will be put to work quickly and effectively to insure the disruptions that occurred last winter do not recur in winters to come."

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