Developer: Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority
Architect: Atkin Olshin Schade Architects
Major Funders: Department of Housing and Urban Development; New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority; Ohkay Owingeh Native American Community Development Finance Institution Inset photo above: Street scene at San Juan, 1905.
Originally known as San Juan Pueblo from 1598 to 2005, Ohkay Owingeh is one of 19 federally recognized pueblo tribes in New Mexico. The Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority has set out on a mission to preserve and bring life back to the historic core of the pueblo as well as strengthen cultural traditions.
Owe'neh Bupingeh is the traditional name for the center of the village and is comprised of four plazas once surrounded by several hundred homes. But only 56 homes, which range from 75 to 400 years old, remain, with many of them having been abandoned.
“It was deteriorating before our eyes slowly, and a lot of families couldn't live in their homes,” says Tomasita Duran, executive director of the housing authority.
The first phase, consisting of the preservation of 20 homes, was completed in March. The homes are being insulated for the first time, and several additions were constructed, including two new second stories. All homeowners also have received training in earthen construction to continue the cultural traditions.
A second phase of nine homes began in March and is expected to be completed in summer 2013. Funding for the $7.1 million preservation project began with a $7,500 grant from the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Division. That grant then was leveraged into more than $7 million, including Indian Housing Block Grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, and HOME funds from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.