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After four years and addressing 3,121 homes in Navajo Nation, Utah nonprofit can hang up their drill.
Bluff, UT — Today, Rural Utah Project announced the completion of their four-year project to provide addresses to all homes and businesses within the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation through Google PlusCodes, digital geo-points that reference locations without depending on roads, house numbering, or the quality of maps. Rural Utah Project started their addressing program in 2019 to ensure voters were registered in the correct precinct and received a valid ballot for where they lived, however, the program has had other critical benefits for community members, including shortened response time for emergency services, access to in-home health care, loans, social activities, and satellite internet, in addition to a partnership with food delivery service ChowNow to incorporate PlusCodes into their delivery system.
“When I found out that you couldn’t vote without a physical address, that got to me,” said Daylene Redhorse, Rural Utah Project’s Addressing Specialist. “We are Utahns, we are part of Utah. Now we have a say in our state. I got out there every day, and now my family, community, my friends’ voices are heard.”
Daylene Redhorse, the Rural Utah Project’s Addressing Specialist, has worked on the project since its inception. Affectionately dubbed the “Addressing Lady” by her community, Daylene has worked diligently over the last four years to ensure that everyone in her community has a Plus Code attached to their dwelling, ensuring that their voter registration is in the correct precinct.
“The Plus Code has greatly increased the ability of EMS to locate a residence when we are paged out,” said Susan Hendy, Utah Navajo Health System Inc, Medical Records Director/HIPAA Privacy Officer. “Because the code is short it is very manageable for us to quickly insert the information into a Google Maps application and it routes us right to the person’s home. By having the plus codes in our rural area we have been able to decrease the time it takes us to locate the patients. Utah Navajo Health System EMS is very appreciative of the Rural Utah Project for promoting this service and making it available to our area.“
The Rural Utah Project’s addressing program started in response to issues that arose during the 2018 redistricting of San Juan County elections boundaries. The Rural Utah Project and Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission identified hundreds of voters who were registered to vote in the wrong election districts due to incomplete location and addressing data. That year, San Juan County elected its first ever Indigenous-majority to its county commission, despite a plethora of issues surrounding voters being registered in the wrong precinct and other barriers to the ballot box. To minimize these issues for future elections, the Rural Utah Project knew that these communities needed a solution that would last beyond the next round of redistricting.
In 2019, the Rural Utah Project identified over 5,600 potential structures using open-source mapping data, visiting all of them to determine which were occupied. Then, in partnership with Google, the Rural Utah Projectwe printed plus code address signs for over 2,600 remaining structures, which were addressed over the last three years.
About Rural Utah Project:
The Rural Utah Project is a Utah-based non-profit organization working for political change in order to protect public lands in Utah for the benefit of all people. We believe that civic engagement should be easy, accessible, and that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard and accounted for. Our addressing program sought to guarantee that those voices were heard. Learn more about their work at ruralutahproject.org