Feds scrutinize Navajo housing agency; new records suggest remodeling costs $1M per unit

From Republic video

Federal housing officials visited the reservation for a week mid-March after seeking information on flawed or failed Navajo Housing Authority construction projects

By Dennis Wagner and Craig Harris | The Republic

WINDOW ROCK — A Navajo Nation housing agency that has struggled for years to provide dwellings for tribal members, and was the subject of a recent Arizona Republic investigation, is under scrutiny again by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD officials, including a deputy administrator and federal grants specialists, visited the reservation for a week in March after sending a letter to Navajo Housing Authority officials seeking information on construction projects that had failed or were severely flawed.

The Republic in a December 2016 series found the NHA, which has received more than $1.66 billion in federal funds since 1998, built fewer than 300 new residences in the past five years. Just as alarming, however, were revelations of more than $100 million in waste in projects that were built. Among the glaring failures: 36 igloo-shaped townhouses in Tolani Lake, built for $7 million over a decade ago, were never occupied and are decaying.

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