HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 14-1021
Erika Rendon
(202) 708-0980
For Release
October 21, 2014


WASHINGTON - Today, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where they met with tribal leaders, toured the reservation to see the housing needs on Pine Ridge, and toured the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC). Senator Johnson invited Secretary Castro to Pine Ridge to highlight the housing and economic development challenges in Indian Country and showcase the progress being made to expand housing opportunities across the reservation.

"Thunder Valley is an example of the power of partnerships," said Secretary Castro. "Community leaders have come together to develop a bold vision for the future — one full of new possibilities in housing, transit and the economy. HUD has been proud to join our federal partners in helping make this local vision a reality on the ground. Together, we're going to make this an era of expanding opportunity here in South Dakota."

"Thunder Valley is helping improve the quality of life on Pine Ridge by planning for sustainable building and development," said Senator Johnson. "Unique challenges continue to face Indian Country, and Thunder Valley is making great strides towards creating more sustainable and affordable housing. I'm pleased that Secretary Castro joined me to witness firsthand the innovative work being done here and meet the dedicated people that are working to improve their community."

During their visit, Secretary Castro and Senator Johnson toured a model sustainable home led by Nick Tilsen, Thunder Valley's Executive Director. They also met with Oglala Lakota College students who discussed their work with sustainable building materials.

The Thunder Valley CDC was formed with a focus on improving outcomes for youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and has been working to foster economic development and improve quality of life. Earlier this month, HUD announced that the Oglala Sioux (Lakota) Housing Authority had been awarded a $400,000 grant through the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program for mold abatement in at least 75 low-rent housing units. Senator Johnson and Secretary Castro also toured communities in Pine Ridge that will benefit from this funding.

In 2010, the Thunder Valley CDC received a $996,100 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Sustainable Communities Initiative. The Initiative provides support for comprehensive, sustainable regional and local planning efforts that integrate housing, transportation, economic development, energy, and environmental concerns. The Thunder Valley CDC has been using those funds to partner with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other tribal entities to develop a regional plan for Pine Ridge.

This trip marks Secretary Castro's first visit to Indian Country as a Cabinet member and highlights his willingness to learn more about the challenges facing Indian Country and build positive relationships with tribal leaders.

Throughout his career, Senator Johnson has focused attention on the need for more and better housing opportunities throughout Indian Country. As Chairman of Senate Banking Committee, Senator Johnson has held several hearings on Native economic development issues. Earlier this Congress, he worked to include a provision in the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) reauthorization to assist homeless or at-risk Native American veterans with housing options on reservations.


HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: August 9, 2016