March 08, 2005
HUD APPROVES HO-CHUNK NATION INDIAN AREA EXPANSION
Move increases homeownership opportunities for Native Americans
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently approved the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin request to significantly expand its "Indian area." The move allows the tribe to use a HUD guaranteed home loan program more widely to help more Native Americans become homeowners.
Ho-Chunk Nation joins the Seminole Tribe of Florida in utilizing HUD's recent expansion of the Section 184 Guaranteed Loan program that allows tribes to increase the number of Native American homeowners beyond reservations. Tribal housing agencies can now designate wider regions as an "Indian area" - meaning tribes can go beyond their reservation borders to assist tribal members or other federally recognized tribes obtain loans for this program. Allowing expansion provides greater opportunity for banks and other lenders to make mortgage loans to Native Americans.
The Ho-Chunk Nation may now assist Native Americans obtain home loans throughout the entire state of Wisconsin, on Ho-Chunk tribal trust land in Houston County, Minnesota, the Chicago metropolitan area, including Cook, Kane, Lake and DuPage Counties, and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area, including Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties. The Ho-Chunk Nation governs tribal trust land in six counties in Wisconsin that includes Shawano, Wood, Jackson, Monroe, Juno and Sauk Counties, as well as tribal trust land in Houston County, Minnesota.
"This program has already helped thousands of Indian families purchase or rehabilitate their existing homes," said HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu, who announced the approval while speaking last week at a joint meeting between the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Housing Committee and the Great Lakes Housing Association (GLHA) in Hollywood, Florida. "This approval and the revision to the Section 184 program plays a vital role in keeping the President's commitment to create 5.5 million minority homeowners by the end of this decade."
Historically, Indian tribes participating in the Section 184 program were limited to purchase homes on land owned by the tribe, usually known as "trust" or "restricted lands." Therefore, Native American homeownership opportunities remained mainly on reservations.
Under the new guidelines, if a tribe or tribal housing authority submits to HUD documentation and clear and convincing evidence that the tribe has a historical connection to the area or tribal members reside in these areas, these entities could provide homeownership opportunities beyond the reservations.
HUD's Section 184 Loan Guarantee program, created in 1992, was established to address the lack of mortgage lending for Native Americans and designed to give Native American families the opportunity to purchase their own homes. Since 1995, when HUD guaranteed its first loan, there have been 2,159 loans guaranteed with a dollar-value of approximately $216 million. The Section 184 program provides a 100 percent guarantee for mortgages on Indian lands, enabling private sector lenders to make mortgage loans to eligible Natives American families, tribes and tribal housing entities that are purchasing homes. The program can also be used to rehabilitate existing homes, build new homes and refinance higher interest rate loans.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.