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Posted on: November 22, 2022

Wiyot Tribe receives Homekey Grant

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California Governor Gavin Newsom this morning announced $47 Million in Homeless Housing Funding to California tribal nations to support their efforts to prevent and end homelessness.   The Wiyot Tribe will receive more than $14 million to purchase, convert and operate an office building and two single-family Victorian-style homes into 39 interim and permanent units serving homeless youth and one manager unit, to create the Jaroujiji Youth Housing Project in Eureka.   

The grant will create 39 units of housing for Youth who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.   "This Youth Center is a true blessing.   It will help to keep Wiyot youth and homeless youth protected from addictions and dangerous environments that might try to attack them from the outside world.    It is our responsibility to keep our children safe,” said Ted Hernandez, Tribal Chairman.  

The Tribe is acquiring two properties in north Eureka, with one office building and two Victorian-style single-family homes and rehabilitating them to be suitable for youth housing and to house supportive services for residents of the Jaroujiji Youth Housing Project.   The grant has three phases; acquisition of two buildings, renovation and rehabilitation of the buildings to create 39 interim and permanent housing units and supportive services to offer the residents of the project. These properties will be restricted to use as homeless youth housing for 55 years.  Creating a transitional youth program that will serve youth for at least the next half century.   This grant was developed through the Tribe’s Dishgamu Humboldt Community Land Trust. Dishgamu (dish-gah-muh) Humboldt Community Land Trust is an Indigenous led land trust organized under the Wiyot Tribe.  Through land return, Dishgamu seeks to return public and private land within the unceded ancestral territory to the Wiyot Tribe.   

 David Cobb, Advancement Manager of the Dishgamu Community Land Trust commented,  “Our name, ‘Dishgamu’, means Love in Soulatluk (Wiyot language), and this work seeks to invest love and caring into our community of which Jaroujiji  (Eureka) sits in the center,” Trust.   “Housing prices continue to soar, young people just starting off in life are struggling, our work and this project are about stabilizing housing, and providing care and support so that youth in our community have a healthy safety net and a place to grow, heal and develop,” said Michelle Vassel Tribal Administrator.  

  Morgan March, Director of Dishgamu stated, “We have worked very closely with the State to land this grant, and their ambassadors have been very helpful and supportive through the whole process. We hope to build a more stable local housing market and helping those who are the most vulnerable is one part of our strategy. Young folks are the future, and if we can support them towards stability, we feel like we have succeeded.” 

Dishgamu also seeks to prioritize Wiyot people in affordable housing to allow Wiyot people to remain in and protect their homelands and Environmentally, Culturally, and Ceremonially restore land, take action against climate change and continue to be stewards of their own land/ancestral territory by utilizing deep green building practices and restoration of green spaces.  We aim to develop and train local people through our projects to produce living wage jobs in our area and to bring best practices in construction, energy production, building materials, and housing design to Humboldt County.    

 The Wiyot Tribe’s Dishgamu Community Land Trust aims to restore Wiyot people to their rightful place in relationship with their ancestral land.  Wiyot language and ceremony are an active, thriving part of the cultural landscape, where Wiyot place names are restored, recognized, and where intertribal Indigenous communities have affordable housing, and living wage jobs.  Dishgamu Humboldt is centered in Jaroujiji (Eureka, CA), the ancestral homeland of the Wiyot Tribe, now known as the Humboldt Bay area.    

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