Tribe, YIHA Partner on Housing Project in Orick District
With funding from the Yurok Tribal Council, the Yurok Indian Housing Authority recently purchased a 3.05 acre property in Trinidad, where YIHA plans to construct up to five family homes.
“The land acquisition and housing project are especially exciting. For the first time in more than a century, the Tribe owns land in Trinidad,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This project is part of our long-term plan to create new housing and well-paying jobs for our citizens in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity Counties.”
“The Trinidad parcel presents the ideal location for family homes. It is within walking distance of schools, a grocery store and transit services, not to mention restaurants and a multitude of employment opportunities,” said Nicole Sager, the YIHA’s Executive Director. “A beautiful stream flows through a redwood forest on the property too. We are going to keep the forest and creek in a natural state for families to enjoy.”
“The Yurok people have lived in the Trinidad area since time immemorial,” said Sherri Provolt, the Yurok Tribal Council’s Orick District Representative. “With this acquisition, our people will always have a place near the Chue-rey Village. We are going to do everything possible to ensure this project is the first of many.”
The Chue-rey Village, also spelled Tsurai, encompasses more than 65,000 acres in the Trinidad area. For millennia, the Yurok people enjoyed an affluent lifestyle in the Tribe’s southernmost village, due the natural harbor and proximity to diverse resources. In 1775, Spanish explorers invaded the permanent village and used violence to steal the land for the king of Spain. They also changed the name from Chue-rey to Trinidad.
Trinidad is part of the Yurok Tribe’s Orick District. One of seven districts, the Orick District extends south from the center of the Klamath River, through Trinidad to the Little River, all of which is within Yurok ancestral territory. The Trinidad housing project is currently in the design phase. At present, the Yurok Indian Housing Authority manages three rental units in the Orick District, but none in Trinidad. Compared to other parts of the Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity region, property in Trinidad is exponentially more expensive because the coastal town has become a tourism hotspot. Establishing new homes for tribal citizens in the Orick District is one of the YIHA’s primary objectives.
In the last two years, YIHA has implemented two large-scale housing developments and has plans to construct additional affordable homes in the very near future. Earlier this year, YIHA, in partnership with the City of Arcata, finished the 30th Street Commons Project, which includes 36 environmentally sustainable housing units, a cultural community garden and a community room. The family friendly neighborhood is in proximity to schools, a tribal health clinic and grocery store. There is also one mile of trail and landscaped walkways on the property. In addition to its earth conscious components, the development was custom designed with the elderly and individuals with physical disabilities in mind. The first-floor units offer special accommodations for elders and the disabled. Last year, YIHA also built another 10 tribal family homes, a community center and a playground in Tulley Creek. The Tribal government recently installed two large office buildings and created several new jobs close to the housing development. YIHA also renovated seven houses in the same area. This summer, YIHA will commence construction on 10 transitional homes in Klamath Glen.