A breeze lifts flags hanging outside of the Andrew Hope Building in downtown Juneau on May 8. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

A breeze lifts flags hanging outside of the Andrew Hope Building in downtown Juneau on May 8. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Tlingit and Haida household pandemic aid program ends this month

Assistance program for tribal citizens to cover economic impacts of COVID-19 started in 2021.

A pandemic aid program that provides one-time payments to tribal citizens is ending Nov. 30, though the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska will continue to offer other federally funded assistance programs for its citizens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that started more than three years ago.

The household relief program is limited to $1,000 for each tribal citizen to help cover expenses related to coping with the pandemic and its economic hit. Those who have not yet applied since the program started in 2021 have until Nov. 30 to file.

“New applications slowed greatly in recent months,” said Shaleena Delgado, the Tlingit and Haida Central Council’s manager for programs under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or ARPA. “This is a one-time program,” and is available to tribal citizens enrolled with Tlingit and Haida.

“It is a household relief program for expenses due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Delgado reported in an email on Thursday, Nov. 2. The payment is available to any tribal citizen living anywhere in the U.S. Just under half of Tlingit and Haida’s 36,000 citizens live in Southeast Alaska. As of September’s enrollment report, a little over 17,000 lived in Southeast communities, said Heather Hintze, of Tlingit and Haida’s communications department.

“This program has provided almost $23 million in relief to households across the nation,” Delgado said. “Tlingit and Haida is pleased we have been able to reach so many households in need due to the economic impacts of the pandemic.”

The central council continues to offer other ARPA programs, Delgado said. The central council “also empowered our Tlingit and Haida community councils to help direct local economic interventions. Some of these include household relief programs that are ongoing.”

People can apply for the household aid program at bit.ly/49mGENq.

Though the biggest number of Tlingit and Haida’s citizens live in Southeast, more than 8,200 live in Washington state, where the central council opened an office on Nov. 1. The new office is in Lynwood, Washington, about 15 miles north of downtown Seattle.

Tlingit and Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson said in a prepared statement that the office has been “one of his top priorities as the tribe works to establish a presence in all of our communities.”

The office space will bring together staff who have been working remotely. It will house 20 full-time staff providing child welfare, child support collections, community navigator, cultural heritage and education, grants and resources, tribal enrollment and tribal court services, according to the central council’s statement.

“I am really excited that we finally have a home base in Washington,” Peterson said. “We are committed to removing any barriers that may keep us from meeting our citizens where they are.”

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