May 12, 2022

Comanche Nation Housing Authority: Putting Elders First

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By: Nora Sovo

Showing respect and compassion for our Elders is ingrained in our community and culture. Our Elders comprise a generation that have endured a lifetime of experience resulting in valuable wisdom and knowledge. As we continue serving our Tribal members and community our efforts are focused on ensuring our Elders have safe and functioning housing.

Two Comanche Nation Housing Authority (CNHA) programs, the Elder Rehab Program that offers Elders up to $8,000 in assistance for home repairs, renovation and rehabilitation and the Home Improvement Program that offers emergency home repairs are in place to assist. Tribal Secretary Treasurer, John D. Wahnee along with the other Comanche Business Committee members, recognized a need to reach out to Elders in their homes, which led to the launch of our new Elder Outreach Program in late 2021. Since its inception, the Outreach Program has already reached a total of 250 Elders in our local communities.

“These programs demonstrate our prioritization of Elders and assisting them with information and access in the comfort of their own homes,” said Russell Sossamon, director of CNHA. “We are currently serving an average of 69 Elders a month and have already noticed the positive impact the home repairs and upgrades have made on our Elder’s living situations.”

The CNHA team members responsible for making the Elder Outreach Program possible are also Elders, which allows the team to form a strong connection and line of communication that ensures Elders’ needs are being heard and addressed.

During the visitations, we are able to sit down in the comfort of our Elders’ homes and have a genuine conversation to identify not only which home issues they need assistance with, but also address other general issues that may not be related to their home.

“The Elder Rehab program has lifted a weight off my shoulders,” said an Elder of Comanche Nation. “I have never felt as prioritized as I do with Housing. They have helped me repair issues around my house that I haven’t been able to do on my own, and now my house has never felt more like home.”

The Elder Rehab Program assists with a variety of repair and construction services that enhance habitability, including handicap accessibility services. To ensure every Elder’s home is accessible throughout, examples of improvements include wider doorways, wheelchair ramps, accessible showers, bathroom railing, handicap toilets and easy use plumbing fixtures.

Through this program, the CNHA team may also perform a series of upgrades, repairs and replacements throughout an Elder’s home to assist with meeting safe and livable standards. Examples of these services include storm shelters, windows, roofs, siding, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, interior and exterior doors, flooring, appliances and electrical and plumbing fixtures.

The Home Improvement Program assists with emergency repairs that present an immediate threat to life and limb or excessive damage to property. The emergency repairs include plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical and roofing. These repairs would be essential in the event of a gas leak, water line break, sewer backup, failed heat or air conditioning unit, or loss of electrical service.

To receive assistance, members can complete an application or reach out to the CNHA office via email or phone. Those who qualify will be contacted by CNHA and receive home visitations if desired.

These CNHA programs now serve seven counties in Southwest Oklahoma, including Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Kiowa, Tillman, Stephens and Grady. For more information about the Elder Rehab and Home Improvement Programs or to apply, visit Contact information: Program Specialist Teta Thompson-Toho,, 580-357-4956 extension 124. Elder Outreach Assistants: LaNora Parker,, 580-550-0594 and Debra Herrera,, 580-550-0561