Shaktoolik receives new homes for the first time in nearly 15 years
SHAKTOOLIK, Alaska (KTUU) - It has been almost 15 years since Shaktoolik received new homes — the last time being in 2007 when the village received four houses — and now the community is getting four more.
A barge arrived at the village in mid-June bringing the much-needed homes to the community.
“We have a lot of overcrowding in our village,” Shaktoolik resident Isabelle Jackson said.
It is a problem not only Shaktoolik residents, but villages across Alaska are facing as CEO of the Bering Straits Regional Housing Authority, Jolene Lyon, said their area is in need of hundreds of homes.
“We actually need approximately 400 more additional homes in our region to suffice, to put a roof over our population’s head,” Lyon said. “And this doesn’t include the citizens coming into the community who are here for the summer, whether it’s gold miners, or whether it’s, you know, a production show or people visiting.”
Lyon said they are going to be bringing homes into more communities in the next few years like in Wells, Teller, and Diomede. But for now, Shaktoolik is getting four houses, two two-bedroom homes and two three-bedrooms homes.
“I’m just overjoyed,” said Jackson, who is one of the recipients of the homes. “You know, it’s like reality came true now. I mean, you know, the reality hit that I’m actually getting home.”
She added that her daughter and son will be moving in with her.
“They’re very excited. My son is so excited,” Jackson said.
Shaktoolik was slated to receive the homes in 2021, but it was pushed back due to the impacts of COVID-19 on building materials, resources, manpower, and effects of the weather. Now, these homes are starting to be put up by the NANA Regional Corporation.
“One of our main missions was that when we worked with NANA, we said, OK, we love how NANA’s coming in and putting in these home,” Lyon said. “We also have to encourage local hire. A lot of our tribal members don’t have the opportunity for employment.”
Lyon said if the weather conditions stay favorable and the work keeps moving, the houses are looking to be ready to go by the end of August to early September.
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