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Chelsea Fish
Chelsea Fish. Photo courtesy National American Indian Housing Council
National American Indian Housing Council welcomes new executive director
Thursday, April 20, 2023

The National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), the largest inter-tribal housing organization, is welcoming Chelsea E. Fish as its new executive director.

Fish is a citizen of the Seminole Nation. She comes to NAIHC with a wealth of experience in public and private service, having worked at the Department of Labor, the Indian Health Service, the National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Contractors Association, the National Council of Urban Indian Health and the Indian Gaming Association.

“On behalf of the NAIHC board of directors and membership, we are delighted to have Chelsea Fish lead the NAIHC team as executive director,” Chairman Thomas Lozano said in a news release on Wednesday.

“Chelsea has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for many years and NAIHC is sure to benefit from her knowledge of the political landscape and long-established career in the Nation’s Capital,” added Lozano, who also serves on the council for the Enterprise Rancheria, a federally recognized tribe based in California.

Fish began work on April 10, according to the release. She succeeds Tony Walters, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who served as executive director of NAIHC for six years.

“I’m excited to join NAIHC to ensure we continue making an impact in securing adequate housing for all First Americans,” said Fish. “As a tribal community, we empirically understand how our housing needs are holistic to our development as people. Inadequate housing has opened doors to many other socioeconomic concerns leaving a deep bruise on our citizens and weakening the ability of our youth to persevere.”

Lozano said NAIHC’s priorities include reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, also known as NAHASDA. The law expired in 2013 but the U.S. Congress has failed to renew the law despite sustained efforts in Indian Country.

“Getting NAHASDA reauthorized is important to our membership and the many tribal citizens and families they serve plus it is long overdue. We are excited to continue NAIHC’s valuable work with Chelsea,” said Lozano.

NAIHC is preparing for its annual convention and tradeshow. The event, held in partnership with tribal insurance provider AMERIND, takes place May 8-11 in Waikaloa, Hawaii.

Over 700 tribal representatives are housing professionals are expected to attend the convention. The agenda includes sessions on federal housing grants, employee retention, housing for veterans, the Section 184 loan guarantee program and the digital divide in Indian Country.

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