Wiyot Tribe Granted $14 Million For Homeless Youth Program

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The Wiyot Tribe was recently granted $14 million in Homeless Housing Funding to help serve the homeless youth within their community. Two rehabilitation properties as well as another service facility are in the works to be built in Eureka; the heart of theWiyot Tribe’s ancestral homeland.

Advancement Manager of the Dishgamu Community Land Trust, David Cobb shared his thoughts about how he feels about this program that is meant to help Indigenous youth in the Humboldt area and even those who are not of Indigenous descent. 

“In those buildings there will be housing for houseless youth or at-risk youth,” Cobb said. “I’m really excited because we’ll be prioritizing Wiyot and Indigenous youth, but also there’ll be spaces available for non-indigenous alike.”

39 units will be made in these two buildings and will provide other services other than housing.

“There is money available for true wraparound services for mental health and other guidance that our youth will be needing,” Cobb said. 

Although the application for this grant was sent in about a year and a half ago, Tribal Administrator, Michelle Vassel believes that once these facilities are built, it will create huge positive changes. Vassal walked me through the process of finding the right locations

“It’s hard to find places in this area that were suitable, there was a whole period of time where we were just trying to find locations that would fit the need and then finding owners that were willing to, you know, be in the long haul with us during the purchasing process,” Vassel said. 

Vassel explained the scarcity of affordable housing within ancestral territory.

“We find that Wiyot people are really being housed out of their ancestral territory, so prioritizing housing is something that we’re really focusing on right now,” Vassel said

And with the City of Eureka working with the tribe as well as the Dishgamu CTL, the aim to restore the relationship between the Wiyot people and their ancestral land continues to grow..

“You know, we have a really good relationship with the City of Eureka that took, you know, 150 years to build,” Vassel said. 

“We’re literally healing the intergenerational trauma that was imposed upon this land and we’re doing it together,” Cobb said.