News on 6 has received messages from citizens say they are either still waiting on COVID-19 relief money for the Cherokee Nation or were unaware of the deadline to apply.
Some Cherokee Nation citizens say there is a lack of communication with the tribal leaders on how to apply for COVID-19 relief funds, but the tribe said it has been communicating the information for months and has helped thousands so far.
“The communication is not good,” said Cherokee citizen Nena Roberts.
Roberts told News on 6 she tried to apply for emergency COVID-19 relief money over the phone, but her money never came. She said she was unaware of the December 18th deadline and is wondering if she will ever get her money from the nation.
“I just need communication about my application and why I have not been contacted,” said Roberts.
Cherokee Councilman Wes Nofire said people in his district are also asking questions.
“Here we create a different programs and people just got lost in the system, people didn’t know about certain programs people to know how to get to the programs,”Nofire said.
The Cherokee Nation received CARES Act funds and added $5 million from those funds to the Human Services Department to help citizens pay rent and medical bills. Those funds are distributed through the Nation’s human services department.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said there are some people who haven’t been helped and they are working on getting them taken care of.
“People who applied or even reached out to our program and said, ‘I need assistance and I’m just finding out about this program,’ we’re going to serve them. We have staff right now and human services working right now I’m going through the list,” Hoskin said.
Hoskin said the have been communicating about the application deadlines since the summer and will continue update citizens through social media, videos and press releases.
“Naturally when we get down to the end of the program there’s going to be people who still need help and we’re committed to giving them that help,” Hoskin said.
The Cherokee Nation said they will be reopening some of their programs in 2021.