For a year and a half, following former Tribal Housing Director, Melvin J. Baker being elected to Tribal Council, late the Tribal Housing Department has been overseen by an interim Director. The position was temporarily filled by Hilda Burch until very recently, when the position was permanently filled by tribal member Vicenti Mirabal.
Mirabal was born and raised in the Ignacio area, and graduated from Ignacio High School in 1980. Mirabal has previously worked for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as vice president of Sky Ute Sand and Gravel, with most of his experience and education coming from past jobs.
“I did some construction work when I was younger but it really wasn’t something I thought I would end up doing in my life,” Mirabal said.
The Tribal Housing Department was initially created to help take on the nation wide surveys of homes specifically on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Mirabal believes that 80 percent of the Department’s original plans have come to completion, but is far from being entirely complete.
“What I want to do is get the Tribal Housing Department back on track to finish that 20 percent that needs to be done and move on to [potential] future projects,” he said.
Mirabal has many plans during his time as Director, one of those plans is better service for tribal members and their homes. Mirabal also hopes to improve the relationships between the Tribal Housing the tribal membership, and getting Construction Services Division and Housing to work as one.
“The [department] goal is to try and get tribal members to utilize the services provided by the Tribal Housing Department and Construction Services and not rely on private subcontractors,” Mirabal said.
Tribal Housing offers many services for tribal members that live on or close to the reservation, some services include lawn mowing for elders, housing repairs through Construction Services Division, a home owners program that is a partnership with the Tribal Credit, plus many other services.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for tribal members to purchase their own homes,” Mirabal said in regards to the Home Loan Program.
Aside from the rough patches the Tribal Housing Department had in the past, Mirabal is optimistic for the future.
“To me it’s a challenge and I look forward to that. My goal as a Director is to be able to do the best for our people [with services and support].”
Mirabal is married to Julia Mirabal and has three kids, Sunshine Whyte, Skylar Mirabal, Rose Mirabal and has four grandkids. His hobbies include golfing, bowling, camping, fishing and watching his grandkids.