Warm Valley nonprofit plans to build multigenerational villages for Northern Arapaho Tribe on Wind River Reservation

    A local nonprofit organization is moving forward with plans to create an elder housing community for the Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Reservation.

    The Warm Valley multigenerational village will feature six 1,070 square foot A-frame houses surrounding a 2,300 square foot hogan that can accommodate 30-40 people for cooking, gathering, and cultural events, according to the design documents.

    The designs show the hogan will contain two full kitchens, a fireplace, a laundry room, storage, and two “behavioral health” residences, and each A-frame house will have a great room, a wood stove, a kitchenette, two bedrooms, and a loft.

    h/t Johnna Arthur
    h/t Johnna Arthur

    Project developer Johnna Arthur said all of the buildings will be energy efficient, with solar-operated utilities, hydronic heat, heated floors, and a collection system for water.

    The property will also have a community garden, Arthur said, and residents will have access to educational courses on homeownership, financial planning, sustainability, and more.

    “I can’t wait for it to break ground,” Arthur said this month. “It’s been a lot of hard work.”

    Construction on the first site near the Wind River Casino should begin in February, Arthur said, and she already has plans for three additional communities: at Beaver Creek south of Riverton, at Big Wind housing in Arapahoe, and at Mill Creek housing near Ethete – all locations that provide 24-hour security through Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing.


    Arthur and her construction manager Scott McClurkin also hope to provide opportunities for local residents to learn construction trades as the project develops, and they eventually want to create a lumber mill that the Northern Arapaho Tribe can use to generate economic development on the reservation.


    The Warm Valley Elder Homes Project received initial support from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, Arthur said, with additional assistance coming from the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Wind River Cares.

    “It’s been really exciting to just get everybody together,” Arthur said. “That’s really been my dream.”


    NABC Councilwoman Teresa His Chase, who attended a project meeting this week, said the Business Council will do “everything we can” to support the effort so that “our elders can have adequate housing, shelter, warmth (and) a place to be a healthy family.”

    “We need to make sure that our Tribal members have secure housing, because if you have adequate housing (a lot of) things fall into place – you don’t have so much to worry about,” His Chase said. “Right now we’re at a major crisis. (The) transient population has skyrocketed. There’s a lot of people without housing. …

    “What you guys are doing is going to make a beneficial impact on our elders and families on the reservation.”


    The USDA suggested forming a local housing coalition as part of the effort, so that is what Arthur is working on now.

    Anyone willing to help organize the housing coalition – or work on any other aspect of the housing project – can call Arthur at (307) 399-9218 or email [email protected].


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