HUD Archives: News Releases

Lee Jones
(206) 220-5356 (work)
(804) 363-7018 (cell)
For Release
October 23, 2009

Funding will repair structural damage to 55 homes near Bering Sea

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it is awarding a
special $450,000 grant to the Native Village of Kwinhagak of Quinhagak, Alaska to stabilize 55 homes for Native Alaskan families to make them safe for the upcoming winter.

The funding announced today at the annual conference of the Alaska Federation of Natives in Anchorage comes in response to concerns about the quality of housing in Native Villages raised with Secretary Shaun Donovan and
Deputy Secretary Ron Sims on their recent trips to Alaska. The village will have the funds to begin making the necessary repairs next week.

"HUD is committed to the development of affordable and sustainable housing, but all sustainability is local,"; said Donovan who visited Western Alaska in August to discuss homelessness in the region with Senator Mark Begich. "We can make homes greener and sustainable, but we have learned that what works in other parts of the country does not always work in Alaska. HUD is encouraging communities to keep researching and to build what is environmentally suitable for the climate and conditions of the region.";

The Native Village of Kwinhagak received the maximum amount of funding an entity can receive under HUD's Indian Community Development Block Grant Imminent Threat Program. Indian tribes or Alaskan Native communities use
this funding to alleviate or remove imminent threats to health or safety. The village will use this funding to repair entryways, roofs, floors and walls until a permanent solution to the persistent structural problems is found.

HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims attended a housing forum in Anchorage in early October where the problems were discussed as part of a briefing by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center on the unique role climate, topography, distances and other factors play in developing affordable and sustainable housing in rural Alaska villages. At that
time, HUD was reviewing the village's request for emergency funding. In a September letter to Secretary Donovan, Senator Begich had also requested urgent funds to make the necessary repairs on the homes.

HUD's Indian Community Development Block Grants (ICDBG) are used for two purposes - single purpose and
imminent threat. Single purpose grants are competitively awarded to provide funds for activities designed to meet a specific community development need and must primarily benefit low- or moderate-income families. Imminent threat grants are awarded if the funding will provide a solution to an urgent problem that requires immediate action or if an emergency will exist if the problem were not addressed. The grants provide a solution to urgent problems that were not evident in time to apply for ICDBG single-purpose funding.

All 562 federally-recognized Indian tribes, bands, or nations, including Alaska Indians, Aleuts and Eskimos, and any Alaska Native village can apply for this funding.

In addition to this funding, earlier this year, HUD awarded a $167,000 grant to the Kwinhagak Village through the Obama Administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve the quality of their housing stock, develop viable communities, promote energy efficiency and create jobs.


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