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Tribe Seeks Public Comments on Indian Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 Imminent Threat Project

May 23, 2020

AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) has recently experienced devastating effects as the result of a national and global health crisis (“the novel coronavirus” or “COVID-19 pandemic”) as declared by the President of the United States on March 13, 2020, and a subsequent declaration by the Tribe a State of Emergency on March 16, 2020 by Tribal Council Resolution (TCR) 2020-17, which was further filed and accepted by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).

The impending ongoing threat of COVID-19 on the community made it necessary to implement safety orders for the health and well-being of the Akwesasne community, which are detailed in TCRs 2020-19 and 2020-23, and includes the U.S. Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) recommendations and standards designed to ensure public safety by slowing the progression of the disease.

The activation of “Stay-at-Home Orders” resulted in the closure of businesses (casino, bars, and restaurants for in-dining), limitation of services, and the suspension of all mass gatherings (churches, schools, public recreation areas, and community events). Subsequently, the Tribe identified several areas where widespread and devastating losses have been realized on tribal operations and to members of the Akwesasne community.

The Tribe must now begin to carry out plans for further preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19, which will include several measures requiring funding over and above the Tribe’s program resources currently available. To support this effort, the Tribe has the opportunity to apply for a $900,000 Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat funding provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The application will be considered under the requirements specified in the FY19/FY20 ICDBG Program for Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages Notice of Funding Availability ("ICDBG NOFA"), and ONAP Program Guidance 2018-04.

The Tribe will apply for ICDBG-CARES funds for the purpose of completing a community-wide COVID-19 response project that will include financial assistance for families (mortgage and rental assistance, housing rehabilitation and sanitation), COVID-19 testing/quarantine facility(ies), sanitation supplies for homes and facilities, a tribal-wide contaminated materials removal program, and tribal employee hazard pay; all of which will ensure the safety and continued sustainability of these vital community resources.

A proposed budget has been set for these funds in the following categories: 1) Housing Assistance, 2) Quarantine Facility(ies), 3) Sanitation Supplies, 4) COVID Response Home Renovations (including hazard pay for key personnel), and 5) A Contaminated Materials Removal Program.

As a requirement of the ICDBG-CARES application for funding, the Tribe is required to provide for membership to participate in the application process by offering opportunities to review and comment on the project’s plans. As a community meeting cannot be safely held and to ensure the continued safety of its tribal residents, community members are invited to provide comments in writing via email to Ms. Starr Thomas, SRMT Assistant Executive Director, at ICDBG@srmt-nsn.gov by May 29, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. regarding this application for funding.

After all views expressed by residents and comments received, the SRMT will make appropriate modifications to the application and submit for funding.

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The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People.