The Wrangell Cooperative Association launched a survey Tuesday in hopes of discovering local Native housing issues. The tribe hopes to use the survey’s results to pursue funding for housing projects.

Tribal Administrator for the Wrangell Cooperative Association, Aaron Angerman, says the WCA partnered with the Tlingit-Haida Housing Authority and Rain Coast Data to conduct the survey. Angerman said in an earlier interview with KSTK that the grants the WCA is pursuing require housing data.

“We need a housing assessment for the tribal homes in Wrangell so we have that data to pursue funding. Without this data from every household that is Native in town, we won’t be able to pursue any. There is a lot of money out there for things like housing,” said Angerman.

Angerman said the tribe identified senior housing as a priority at a meeting last December. The tribe hopes to partner with the city to build a senior living facility on the former Wrangell Institute property.

“A big step was to see what the city had planned with the Institute property, to see if there’s a fit there. Just given the timing and given that we found out that they were looking to subdivide some of that property for senior housing, we thought there may be a partnership there that we’re hoping to grow,” said Angerman. “Regardless, we’re proceeding to find funding for the property, whether that be at the Institute or elsewhere in town. We don’t want to be waiting years to break ground on this. We want to go after it now.”

The survey could bring additional housing needs to light. Angerman says the WCA would like to receive 200 responses or more. He says that number would give a complete picture, and the tribe would seek funding for any additional housing issues.

“I would expect to find out that we have a shortage of a certain types of housing whether that be apartments or condos or single-family residential areas. Perhaps people need renovations done to their home, energy efficiency type things or just help purchasing a home,” said Angerman. “How can we help you do that? Would people want to stay here if they had a home to live in? Would they want to move back if that was the case? We want to know all these things so we’re hoping people fill out the survey.”

Angerman says the overall goal is to provide more opportunities for people to stay or move back to Wrangell.

“I get people into this office or I bump into them around town every day of all ages, young persons, old persons that say they miss it here and they would move back if they could. They would hope they could stay and not leave. Not a month goes by where I don’t have a couple people come to me and say I wish I could come back, but,” he said.

He says the tribe will hire locally first for any future housing projects.