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  • Writer's pictureArizona Contractor & Community

Navajo Nation Awards $74 Million to ZenniHome to Fuel Expansion and Provide Sustainable Housing

The grant will provide a minimum of 250 ZenniHome units to high-need residents across the Navajo Nation and help create around 5,500 jobs.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Navajo Nation has awarded a total of $74 million in grants to ZenniHome, a producer of sustainable, affordable factory-made homes using high-quality materials. 

The grants include $50 million from the Navajo Nation’s Community Housing and Infrastructure Department to provide a minimum of 250 ZenniHome units to high-need residents across the Navajo Nation. Additionally, $24 million from the American Rescue Plan Act will be used to expand ZenniHome’s production at the former Navajo Generating Station site by building a second factory to address the critical housing need and stimulate economic development on the Navajo Nation.

“I expect this to create the highest-producing housing factory in the world,” said Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren. “It will enable ZenniHome to begin to manufacture more than 25 homes a day once the factory expansion is completed by the end of 2025. … These homes will be built on Navajo, by Navajo and for Navajo.”

This ARPA grant will help ZenniHome to secure $36 million in additional financing to complete the project, which will help create 500 direct jobs and approximately 5,000 indirect jobs. ZenniHome currently employs 135 Navajo workers.

A 2011 Navajo Nation Housing Report found that 90 percent of all Navajo Nation housing were in need of replacement or major repairs. The Nation needs as many as 34,100 new homes to meet demand, according to the Navajo Housing Authority assessment, which conducted the survey in 2009. However, this number is likely higher with the increase in tribal enrollment, the time that has passed since the survey and other factors such as the pandemic. The report also stated that more than 34,300 existing homes were in need of repairs.

“ZenniHome is committed to addressing the housing crisis within the Navajo Nation head-on,” said ZenniHome CEO and Founder Bob Worsley. “This partnership will ensure that every family has access to quality, affordable and lasting homes.”

Navajo Nation and ZenniHome are committed to collaborate on further future housing initiatives focused on the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission, veterans and transitional housing for those overcoming opioid addiction.

This first-of-its-kind public-private partnership between the Navajo Nation and ZenniHome underscores a mutual commitment to building a substantial new industry to export from the Navajo Nation. Among the key benefits of this partnership for the Navajo people are priority access to the factory’s output of housing units, substantial tax revenue from home sales, business lease payments and priority pricing for the Navajo Nation and individual Navajos.

Nygren called the partnership “a significant step forward to achieve our 1,000-home initiative,” which includes affordable housing, economic empowerment, job creation and more. The new ZenniHome plant employs Navajo workers from across the region, with a daily shuttle service from Tuba City. ZenniHome employees commute from the following Navajo Nation chapters: Tuba City, Kaibeto, Bodaway-Gap, Tonalea, Coppermine, Shonto, LeChee, Inscription House, Kayenta, Black Mesa, Cove and Navajo Mountain.

“By working together with ZenniHome, we are not just building homes,” Nygren said. “We are promoting a more sustainable future for the Navajo Nation where every citizen has access to affordable, quality housing and the promise of economic growth and stability.” 


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