The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Housing Division held the third annual Residents Recognition Awards Banquet on Monday, March 18 at the Marriott Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River. The banquet honored 47 of the 242 residents from the Housing subdivisions Lonely Cactus, Victory Acres, Dobson Heights, Red Mountain Vista, Canalside I, Canalside II and Evergreen for paying their rental fees on time and passing their health and safety site visits.
“This year we are recognizing the families who [paid] rent on time and passed their health and safety site visit, which is the home inspection they go through to make sure the home is in good condition. [We check to see] there is good housekeeping, they are cleaning their yards, and they are taking care of the home overall,” said Housing Services Community Outreach Specialist Valerie Lewis.
The residents received awards and small decorative plaques for their home with family-inspired quotes printed on them.
“We always kept on top of our weeds and cleaning. As long as you’re on top of that, you don’t have that [many] problems when it comes down to inspections,” said Rebecca Oberg, a Lonely Cactus resident.
“I guess being a Christian and God being such an orderly God, that He just wants us to be in order too, so we keep our house payments going in on time,” said Lonely Cactus resident Bernadine Hernandez. “We are very blessed to have such a beautiful home. We thank Housing and the Housing Board for doing a lot of things for us, especially our Block Watch program. They have always been there for us and [we have received] a lot of encouragement from them.
I appreciate it, because we have a nice home [and] we just want to do our part, too.”
Housing Division Acting Director Denise Taylor expressed her appreciation to all the families for keeping up with their recertifications and yard maintenance.
“I am really proud of all of you. I want to commend you all and tell you that you all are doing such a great job. I can’t wait till next year when we all meet again, and I hope to see if we can get more residents here,” said Taylor.
The residents were welcomed by Housing Board Chair Little Fawn Loring and an opening prayer was recited by SRPMIC Council Member Lorna Ray.
“I [would] like to compliment you for all the hard work you have done to take pride in your Community and your homes,” said Loring. “I’d also like to thank the staff here this evening for all the work they did so that we could have this wonderful event here in honoring each and every one of you.”
SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier was a special guest speaker. He opened his remarks with a quote for the youth in the audience, saying that “When you’re young, you want to leave home, but when you get old, you always want to go back.”
Harvier reminisced about his grandmother’s old mud house in Gila River. He explained they didn’t have any running water and instead had big barrels of water.
“I remember my grandma getting a pan of water, dipping her fingers in it and sprinkling water on the dirt ground inside her home as she swept, and it smelled so good. It made the ground hard like concrete, and it was home for them,” said Harvier.
He congratulated all the residents for maintaining what was asked of them when they first moved into their homes.
“There are all these rules that you have when moving into a home,” Harvier said. “[W]hen we first moved into our home, I remember my wife saying, ‘I am not working tomorrow, I have to clean the house; we have inspectors coming over.’ It’s just kind of part of why you’re being recognized tonight, because you keep up your home,” said Harvier. “By keeping up your home and doing what you’re asked, when those federal organizations are looking at our Community and ask [whether] they should continue to provide funding for housing, it’s all of you who are looked at, and [so they] say, ‘Yes, let’s continue to give funding to the Housing Division, because their tenants are keeping up with what we provided to them.”
Following Harvier’s talk, the families enjoyed a nice dinner catered by the Marriott Courtyard and the awards presentation.
Families were very thankful for the recognition, thanking the Housing staff for their support. Families also shared some of their tips for meeting the requirements for the rental homes.
“The kids help clean, [we have] rules and regulations in our home, and it helped [having] everyone pitching in to meet the home-inspection guidelines,”