Navajo Nation president approves new phase of hardship assistance program for eligible tribal members

The Navajo Nation Council approved the resolution on Dec. 29.

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.
  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Jan. 4 signed a resolution which will use $557 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide $2,000 in funds to adults and $600 to minors who are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation, according to a Jan. 4 news release.
  • The first phase of the Hardship Program distributed more than $319 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding to about 308,000 enrolled members.
  • Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, the bill's sponsor, told The Daily Times she was thankful for President Nez’s quick action to sign the resolution and provide relief to the Navajo people.

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation president has signed an emergency bill which will provide hardship assistance funds to eligible tribal members as they try to navigate a second winter since the COVID-19 pandemic has started.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Jan. 4 signed a resolution which will use $557 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide $2,000 in funds to adults and $600 to minors who are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation, according to a Jan. 4 news release.

Nez said in the news release the Omicron variant has been detected on tribal land and urged people to use the funds to protect their families while keeping an eye on their elders.

More:Navajo Nation Council approves additional hardship assistance payments

“We love our Diné people and we do not want any more of our people to lose their lives to this modern-day monster known as COVID-19,” Nez said in a statement. “With the approval of another round of hardship assistance, we strongly urge our people to use the funds for essential items and services that will help protect and prepare your homes and families.”

It comes on the heels of the Navajo Nation Council voting 18-2 on Dec. 29 in favor of Resolution CD-62-21, sending the bill to Nez’s desk on Jan. 3.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, left center and Vice President Myron Lizer, right center, hold a copy of the resolution they signed on Jan. 4 to provide $2,000 in hardship funds to adults and $600 to minors.

The first phase of the Hardship Program distributed more than $319 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding to about 308,000 enrolled members.

More: Navajo Nation leaders reallocate CARES Act funding to help older adults

When council on Dec. 29 debated the resolution, a majority of the delegates supported the resolution as it could provide financial relief for those struggling to cover the costs of food, fuel and bills.

The funding comes from the $2 billion allocated to the Navajo Nation as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, the bill's sponsor, told The Daily Times she was thankful for President Nez’s quick action to sign the resolution and provide relief to the Navajo people.

More: Navajo Area IHS seeks to offer at-home COVID test kits

She believes the funding will help community members who have been hit hard and have been struggling with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It really will help them financially with material things, but most importantly their mental wellbeing that relief is on the way and can help them catch up on bills, and just continue to prepare for winter,” Crotty said.

She appreciates the engagement the Navajo people have had with tribal leadership as they shared stories and concerns of trying to make ends meet and ensuring they have access to critical supplies and services.

For the future, some preliminary directions have been issued by the Officer of the Controller, Crotty said.

She stated if tribal members applied for the first phase of the Hardship program and no information has changed, there is no further action needed.

There will be a process announced in the future to update information including mailing addresses for delivery of the checks.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times.

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