May 22, 2013 –
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE PROVIDES SAFE DRINKING WATER AND WASTEWATER FACILITIES TO NATIVE AMERICAN HOMES AND COMMUNITIES
OKLAHOMA CITY – Safe and adequate water supply and/or wastewater disposal facilities are lacking in approximately 12% of Native American and Alaska Native homes, in comparison to less than 1% of homes for the general U.S. population. Safe sanitation facilities can improve public health in many ways, including lowering the incidences of gastrointestinal disease and infant mortality. Through recently improved coordination between several federal agencies, access to funding that can increase the means to provide these services has been greatly improved. The Indian Sanitation Facilities Act, P.L. 86-121, authorizes the Indian Health Service (IHS) to provide essential sanitation facilities, such as safe drinking water and adequate sewage systems, to Native American and Alaska Native homes.
The IHS works in partnership with tribal communities to provide a comprehensive health system for approximately 2.1 million Native American and Alaska Natives – who are members of 566 federally recognized tribes – to provide these services. The Oklahoma City Area Office (OCAO) of the IHS Sanitation Facility Construction (SFC) program oversees this program to an estimated population of one hundred fifty thousand Native American and Alaska Natives, by working with the 39 Tribes and Tribal Organizations within the OCAO. This area includes parts of Texas, all of Oklahoma, and portions of Kansas and Nebraska. The SFC program is able to assist Native homeowners by providing water and wastewater services to new or like new homes and by providing necessary water and sewer repairs to existing homes.
To qualify for this program, the following criteria must be met:
- The homeowner must be a registered member of a federally recognized Native American Tribe or Alaska Native Village
- The home and land must be owned or under a contract for purchase by a federally recognized tribal entity or member of a federally recognized tribal entity; Note: Rental homes must have a minimum five-year lease signed by both the homeowner lessor and lessee.
- The home must be a new or like-new, HIP, or existing home;
- The home must be located in Brown, Doniphan, Douglas, or Jackson County, KS or Richardson County, Nebraska.
To apply for these services, please contact the Holton IHS OEH&E Field Office at 785-364-4164. Or for any additional information, please call 405-951-3739.