Former Navajo Nation leaders blamed for lack of women's shelter

The facility sits unfinished and unused. Photo from Shiprock Home for Women and Children

A domestic violence shelter on the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation has yet to open despite more than a decade of work on the project.

The Shiprock Home for Women and Children was supposed to receive more than $1.4 million in state funds. But the non-profit that plans to run the facility only saw $290,000, The Farmington Daily Times reported.

Ray Begaye, a former state lawmaker who helped allocate funds for the project, told the paper that two former presidents -- Ben Shelly and Joe Shirley Jr. -- held up the money. Most of it was redirected to another project on the reservation and another big chunk was taken back by the state.

"The complication is not the shelter," Ray Begaye told the paper. "It's the wait time in getting this funding to them."

Shelly's former chief of staff denied the claim in an e-mail to the paper. Shirley, whose bid to regain the presidency earlier this year was unsuccessful, could not be reached, the paper said.

The shelter is about 80 percent complete but the construction company can't finish it due to an order in tribal court, the paper said.

The facility is designed to house up to 14 families and 84 children, according to the shelter's website.

Get the Story:
Shiprock Home for Women and Children incomplete despite more than $1M in state funding (The Farmington Daily Times 8/23)

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