| HUD No. 06-073
June 24, 2006
HUD OFFICIAL KEYNOTES NATIVE AMERICAN HOMEOWNERSHIP FAIR
CHICAGO - Sharon Taylor, a single-mother of five, who works for the Center For Neighborhood Technology, probably never thought of herself as Superwoman but lately she has been feeling very empowered. The reason is that Ms. Taylor is on the verge of becoming a first-time homeowner because of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) home loan guarantee program created specifically for Native Americans. Taylor, a member of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, and a long-time Chicago resident, will be the first to use the program in the state of Illinois.
Orlando Cabrera, HUD Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing, introduced Taylor and her daughter, Stephanie, today at the opening of Chicago's First Native American Homeownership Fair. This is one of many events held this month across the U.S. to celebrate June as National Homeownership Month.
"Buying a home is the primary wealth-building asset to most American families," said Cabrera, who keynoted the housing fair's opening. "Ms. Taylor should be proud to take this bold step for her family and HUD's goal is for more Native Americans to take advantage of this program that will allow them to enjoy the American Dream of homeownership."
Joining Cabrera were James Denomie of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa and Wendy K. White Eagle of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a number of lenders, vendors and local entities that support housing for Native American people.
Today's housing fair was hosted in Chicago at the oldest urban American Indian center in the U.S. with support from HUD's Chicago-based, Eastern/Woodlands Office of Native American Programs. HUD and local government entities such as the Chicago Housing Department and Illinois Housing Development Authority along with Native American community leaders brought critical home-buying information under one roof. It included mini-workshops about the home-buying process, such as: Steps to Buy a Home, Getting a Mortgage and How Credit Works. There was also a session about the Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program - the program Ms. Taylor is using to purchase her home.
Ms. Taylor, who obtained financing from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Native American Lending in Sioux Falls, S.D. has found the home she wants to buy and will be closing June 27th.
Ms. Taylor said, "After taking this step, I believe you can do anything now."
HUD's Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program gives tribal members the opportunity to become homebuyers by providing a 100 percent guarantee for mortgages on Indian lands, enabling private sector lenders to make mortgage loans to eligible Native 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.
Just in the past three years, the Section 184 program has proven to be an effective tool to increase Native American homeownership. The Program was created in 1994 to address the lack of mortgage lending for Native Americans. It was designed to give Native American families the opportunity to purchase their own homes.
Since 1995 when HUD guaranteed its first Section 184 loan, there have been more than 2,800 loans guaranteed with a dollar value in excess of $300 million. This year alone, HUD's Office of Native American Programs is on pace to guarantee another 1,000 loans for $120 million.
President Bush's 2007 proposed budget includes a $2 million increase for the Section 184 program, which is currently funded at $4 million. The President's request also doubles the amount of money HUD makes available under Section 184 to back mortgages - from $116 million to $251 million.
Previously, Native Americans participating in the Section 184 program were limited to the purchase of homes on land owned by the tribe, usually known as "trust" or "restricted" lands. As a result, Native American homeownership opportunities remained primarily on reservations. Under new guidelines established last year, tribes and tribal housing entities can provide Section 184 homeownership opportunities beyond their reservations.
For more information on this innovative program, visit the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) website.
HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) is responsible for managing and administering a range of programs, including the two largest federal rental assistance programs - public housing and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8. Combined the programs serve more than 3.2 million low-income families in the U.S. PIH also monitors the operations of the nation's approximately 3,400 public housing authorities that manage the country's more than 1.2 million public housing units and administer other HUD programs. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.