Tribal Council allots Covid relief funds to members, care center

Signed into law on March 11, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (HR1319) allocated $20 billion to tribal governments and more than $6 billion for tribal healthcare, according to the National Congress of American Indians. Meeting four days after President Joe Biden signed HR1319, the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council put aside some of the tribe’s share in order to help members through the Covid-19 pandemic, bring a long-term care center to fruition and renovate a hotel that was used as a care site.

In the first relief measure the council enacted, each tribal member who was 18 or older as of March 15 will be allocated a $2,000 emergency economic assistance payment. The council earmarked and obligated $24 million in Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery funds – a component of the American Rescue Plan Act – toward those payments.

The emergency economic assistance payments will be allocated starting with $500 the week of April 5, or when funds are made available. Further $500 payments will be issued the week of July 12, the week of December 13 and the week of March 14, 2022.

As a second measure, the council voted to put aside $36 million in American Rescue Plan funds to build and operate a long-term care center for the San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation. “It is time to bring our Elders home,” Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler posted on Facebook after the meeting.

“It was a very good thing to obligate funds for a long-term care facility,” Tribal Vice Chairman Etpison said on his own Facebook page. “This had been in planning for many years.”

In addition, the council earmarked and obligated $6.56 million in Rescue Plan funds for the Tribe’s Gaming Enterprise. Those funds will be used in renovating the Apache Gold Casino Hotel, which was used as an alternate care site during the pandemic.


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