Pathways to Homeownership Conference
and Housing Fair

[Photo: HUD staff]
HUD staff at conference. (l-r) Lyle Konkol, Paul Jurkowski, Tom Friesen, Randal Akers

The Helena Field Office helped kick-off Homeownership Month on June 10th and 11th with a Housing Fair and Conference in Pablo, Montana on the Salish-Kootena reservation. The event, sponsored by the Montana Homeownership Network, the American Indian Homeownership Taskforce and the Tribe, attracted over 130 interested homebuyers, lenders, and representatives of the non-profit affordable housing community from throughout the State.

Many of the barriers to homeownership in Indian Country have not been overcome. Widespread poverty and unemployment, lack of affordable credit, little or no supply of affordable housing, few credit institutions or banks on reservations, too few Tribal Councils that have enacted foreclosure ordinances to protect lenders, and the slow process of obtaining land titles are some of the barriers. But, with strong tribal leadership and the willingness to explore available resources, the Salish-Kootena Tribe is the exception and showcases a 70% homeownership rate--several points above the national average. In this market, HUD is aggressively marketing its Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program ( and the lending community is beginning to recognize the 184 Program as an important tool for the Indian borrower. Ronan State Bank Official, Ben Graves announced at the conference that he was presently reviewing seven 184-loan applications. Not a large number, but significant, given that many reservations have yet to write their first loan. Now the challenge is to have the Salish-Kootnai model replicated in reservations throughout the State

Homeownership resources were available from Fannie Mae, USDA, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Neighborhood Reinvestment, and HUD's 184 Loan Guarantee and Title VI Programs. Workshops on predatory lending were held and participants were invited to take advantage of one-on-one homebuyer counseling sessions offered by Neighborhood Housing Services. HUD staff distributing information at the conference included Randal Akers, Administrator of the Northern Plains Office of ONAP, Paul Jurkowski, Director of National ONAP's Office of Loan Guarantee, and Lyle Konkol, Operations Specialist from the Helena Field Office.


Content Archived: April 12, 2011