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Ohkay Owingeh still needs help with housing project

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By Tris DeRoma

The Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo has collected about $150,000 of the $500,000 the pueblo was hoping to collect in order to finish a 12-year-old housing rehabilitation project.

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A $500,000 tax credit has been awarded to the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority to incentivize tax contributions.
The credit will allow donors who contribute to the project to get a tax credit on any New Mexico tax obligation equal to half of one’s contribution to the project.

If someone owes $10,000 in state income tax, for example, and they give $5,000 to the pueblo project, then their tax bill would be only $5,000.

Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority needs $3.5 million to complete the project.

The Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority is confident they will accomplish this goal.

“I feel we really made some strides in the past couple of weeks,” Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority Development Officer Leslie Colley said. “We’ve finally got the ball rolling on these final groups of houses.”

In September, the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority announced it needed the public’s help in financing the last stage in a pueblo housing rehabilitation project. The last stage will be to rehabilitate the housing around the pueblo’s public square. The project was started in 2005. The housing authority already spent $8.5 million on the project, which included funding from.

NM Historic Preservation Division, NPS Tribal Preservation Program, McCune Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Chamiza Foundation and other federal sources.

Colley said she will be visiting Los Alamos at the beginning of the year again as part of a Rotary Club event to drum up support.

“The challenge is just raising awareness about it, and getting people involved and interested enough to invest,” she said.

So far, the housing authority has rehabilitated 34 houses since the project began. The process involves restoring the interior and exterior walls of the adobe houses back to their original condition using the same adobe brick making techniques the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo has been using for hundreds of years.