By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Four years after moving out, the Handicapped and Elderly Living Program (HELP) has moved back to Tsali Manor. The shift comes after Res. No. 554 passed by Tribal Council. The resolution was brought forward by Bobby Taylor. Taylor was unavailable for comment.
Jeremy Hyatt, the manager of HELP, says that the primary thing he is looking forward to is a routine.
“We’ve moved four times in the last three years. I’ve had three or four different offices down at housing,” said Hyatt. “I hope there’s more stability. I think it was just having an effect on the guys too…the uncertainty, not knowing where they’re going to be or what they’ll be doing.”
Tsali Manor housed HELP from its inception in 1996 to 2015. Debbie West, the Senior Citizens manager at Tsali Manor, was surprised when the initial move was made.
“We had a really, really good relationship with the HELP group, and they were up here for years,” said West. “We worked very close together, and then they were gone. We had no contact with them. There were events we put on here, and the HELP men were always willing to come in and help, that we couldn’t do anymore. Because we didn’t have the manpower. I went from 38 employees, overnight down to 10.”
West says that what made the move jarring was a lack of communication. She says it caused confusion for everyone involved.
“Every day they were calling me. They were like, ‘we can’t get a hold of anybody, we aren’t getting any work done,’” said West.
“But, my hands were tied. I said there’s nothing I can do about it but pass the word on, hopefully try to help you that way.”
Before presenting the document, Bobby Taylor discussed the resolution with West.
“I had nothing to do with that resolution. They just came to me and asked me ‘did I mind’ if he put one in…and of course I didn’t,” said West.
West and Hyatt both say that the benefits surrounding this move have to do with the accessibility of the program, and that Tsali Manor already has the room to reintegrate the program.
“They’re glad it’s back up here. They know where they’re at. And, a lot times we have people that ride those buses in, so they can’t stop down there and run in there and take applications and talk to people. But they’re here from about 10:30-12, and they’ve got access to them,” said West.
“We’re glad it’s back, and we welcomed them back.”
It’s been a busy few months. West said that the program began moving back to Tsali Manor in January, and that it took about a month to get everyone up to the facility.
Hyatt says that the move is still not fully complete. HELP has been needing an officer coordinator, and that the budget is still within housing. Because of this transition, Hyatt says he hasn’t been able to submit his 2020 budget either.