In May 2013, a series of deadly tornadoes ripped through parts of Oklahoma leaving behind paths of destruction in their wake. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation jurisdictional area was hit hard. Many Tribal members and CPN employees suffered great destruction and loss.

Steelman Estates, a trailer park lying inside the Tribal jurisdiction approximately one mile south of the Grand Casino Hotel Resort took a direct hit, with numerous injuries and two deaths from one tornado. Other areas like Pink and Little Axe, home to Tribal members and employees alike also suffered damage from the twisters.

Tribal first responders were in many cases some of the few rescuers on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the destruction, an experience that led the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to explore mitigation plans in the event of the next disaster.

As a result, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation partnered with the American Red Cross and will accept applications for a limited number of residential storm shelters for individuals residing in Oklahoma, Cleveland or Pottawatomie counties.

The Tribe is able to fund the shelters and their installation through a partnership with the American Red Cross. The residential storm shelters are available for Tribal members and CPN employees.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation will accept applications for an individual storm shelter installation program. For those selected and approved, the program will provide a one-time FEMA approved shelter installation assistance of up to $2,500.  

The population for this program is specific to Tribal members and CPN employees, with preference given to Tribal members.  Once Potawatomi application requests are exhausted, and funding allows, CPN employees will be assisted.  Selection criteria have been established to help individuals directly in the storm’s path and those who suffered catastrophic loss first.  A special focus will be given to residents in Cleveland, Pottawatomie and Oklahoma counties.

To be eligible, residents must own and reside in the home where shelter is to be installed. The house must be the primary residence of the homeowner.  Proof of ownership will be required.

For more information and a complete application package, please contact CPN Assistant Director of Economic Development Kelley Francen at 405-275-3121. Applications will be accepted through April 30, 2015. Funds are limited and will be disbursed as applications are received and approved.