Jodi Rave: Without funds, NAIHC fires half of staff
"Paul Lumley, director of the National American Indian Housing Council, was barely on the job a day when he had to fire half his staff.

It was his only choice if the housing council wanted to keep the lights on and the doors open in the Washington, D.C., office.

'It didn't take long to figure out what we needed to do, and do it quick,' Lumley said Wednesday. 'It was the worst week of my professional career. It will affect this organization forever. It will never be the same.'

The housing council received a federal budget cut of $2.6 million last year, and the House of Representatives recently included it among a list of earmarks, or entitlement programs, that are being scrutinized or phased out of this year's federal appropriations bill.

If his predecessor had made the cuts last year, as planned, workers might have had time to look for new jobs, Lumley said. Instead, half the staff got their notices in a matter of days.

'We're not the only one going through this,' said Cheryl Parish, a council board member in Brimley, Mich.

'When we reached out to our friends on the Senate side, they said, 'We hear you. Our phones are ringing off the hook.'"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Indian housing workers lose jobs (The MIssoulian 2/9)

Relevant Links:
Office of Public and Indian Housing, HUD - http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih
National American Indian Housing Council - http://naihc.net

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