Chickasaws administering Kiowa housing 6-6-07

CARNEGIE, Okla. (AP) - Improper accounting has led to a new agreement that places the Chickasaw Nation in charge of administering housing services for the Kiowa Tribe.

The pact between the Kiowas and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development went into effect Thursday and allows the Chickasaws to occupy the Kiowas' housing offices and administer the federal housing funds allotted to the Kiowas.

“Basically, the prior officers and prior committees left housing in such a condition that the present (Kiowa Business) Committee had no choice to save the housing project but to designate a TDHE (tribally designated housing entity) for the tribe,” said Amos Black, an attorney for the Kiowa Tribe.

“In three months from last Thursday, the operation will be reviewed by the KBC. That resolution can be rescinded, but if (the review) is satisfactory, it will most likely be continued.”

HUD began investigating the Kiowas' tribal housing program last year, when the agency sent the tribe a letter saying it found evidence that the Kiowas had not properly accounted for more than $10 million in Indian Housing block grants.

The Kiowas signed a voluntary agreement with HUD in March aimed at bringing the housing program back into compliance. As part of that agreement, HUD recommended giving the Chickasaws temporary authority over the Kiowa housing programs.

The appointment of the Chickasaws as overseer of Kiowa housing is open-ended and subject to quarterly reviews, Black said.

He said the goal is for the Chickasaws to eventually train Kiowa employees in administration of the federal housing money, allowing the Kiowas to one day regain control over the program.

“That's the ultimate goal,” he said. “But they want to make sure they have trained personnel in place to ensure the success of the program.”