|HUD No. 00-58|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||March 20, 2000|
HUD ANNOUNCES NEARLY $1.5 MILLION IN GRANTS TO THE NEZ PERCE TRIBE IN IDAHO
LAPWAI, ID - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Cardell Cooper today awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants to the Nez Perce Tribe during a visit to the tribe's reservation in Idaho.
The Nez Perce Tribal Housing Authority will use the funds to rehabilitate 38 rental and owner-occupied homes, construct eight new homes and finance several community services and crime prevention programs.
In addition to the grant, Cooper said an employee of HUD's Office of Native American Programs will work on the reservation to help the tribe get the best use of loan guarantee programs, as well as other federal initiatives.
Cooper made the announcements while visiting the Nez Perce Reservation to see housing conditions and meet with tribal leaders, including Tribal Chairman Samuel Penney and members of the Tribal Housing Authority.
Cooper and the tribal officials discussed housing development, job creation, and economic development opportunities.
"The first Americans shouldn't be the last to benefit from America's prosperity," Cooper said. "The United States has an obligation to work in partnership with the Nez Perce and other tribes to create desperately needed housing and jobs that will help tribal members build a better future for their families and for all of Indian Country."
Cooper presented a plaque to the Tribe in recognition of its success in getting a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to construct a new facility for the Nez Perce Boys and Girl's Club. The Tribe was awarded a $335,000 CDBG grant last August for a new 8,800 square-foot facility.
Cooper toured homes in Lapwai, the town where most members of the Nez Perce Tribe live, and witnessed the overcrowded housing conditions on the reservation.
Of the 845 families on the reservation, 279 live in substandard housing and 86 live in overcrowded conditions. Families of four or five live in trailers with only two bedrooms. There are also more than 1,524 American Indians, non-members of the Nez Perce, living on or near the reservation in substandard conditions.
Complicating the housing shortage on the Nez Perce Reservation even further is the severe shortage of water and sewage systems and access roads. Lapwai has essentially no resources to increase or upgrade these facilities. The reservation's location and its low population in some areas does not invite interests in the region.
The Nez Perce Tribe has a rich history in breeding Appaloosa horses. Cooper visited the Tribe's breeding operation, where Appaloosa horses are shown and sold. This operation is also being used as a youth development tool. Children are taught how to care for and ride the horses.
Since 1997, HUD has given the Nez Perce Reservation almost $5.5 million, including the grant Cooper announced today.