HUD Award to help village of Chefornak to rebuild barge jetty

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a $450,000 “imminent threat” grant to the Village of Chefornak in western Alaska to begin restoring a barge jetty that was badly-damaged in the 2017 spring “break-up” and left inaccessible to barge traffic following Winter 2018 storms.
The Federally-recognized Village of Chefornak has, according to the 2010 Census, about 400 mostly Yup’ik residents. It is located on the south bank of the Kinia River some 490 miles west of Anchorage and 16 miles upriver from its mouth and the Bering Sea. With a subsistence economy the community is dependent on barges and aircraft for essential supplies such as diesel fuel, its principal energy source. Damages sustained in 2017 and 2018 has left the jetty where such goods previously were delivered inaccessible and even dangerous for barge traffic.
The $450,000 imminent threat grant requested by the village will fund hydrological and geologic assessment for a best long-term solution and immediately rehabilitate the existing barge jetty including removal of dangerous rocks and relocating rock to reduce future risks to the barge-landing area from erosion and other environmental threats.
“Most of us take for granted a steady and convenient day-to-day supply of life’s essentials,” said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Jeff McMorris. “Not so in isolated, rural Alaska villages like Chefornak that are so dependent on goods and essential services shipped by sea or air from places as far away as Anchorage or Seattle. When supply lines break, the lifeline is endangered. This imminent threat grant allows HUD to move quickly to help residents of Chefornak to restore its connection to the essentials they, like the rest of us, need.”
HUD imminent threat grants are a component of the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program and is a set-aside within the Community Development Block Grant program created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
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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