HUD No. 07-065
May 15, 2007
HUD OFFICIAL DISCUSS IMPORTANCE OF HOMEOWNERSHIP AT NATIVE AMERICAN NATIONAL POLICY SUMMIT
Yavapai-Apache Nation awarded nearly $900,000 in HUD funding for tribal housing
PHOENIX - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera joined federal partners and tribal leaders in Phoenix today for the first National Native American Economic Policy Summit hosted by the National Congress of American Indians. While in the region, Cabrera also awarded the Yavapai-Apache Nation of Camp Verde, Ariz. an $871,616 Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) that will be used to improve housing conditions for tribal members.
Cabrera told summit attendees that homeownership is a vital cornerstone of economic sustainability in Indian Country. "Housing is a key ingredient to support reservation economies," he said. "HUD programs that encourage Native American homeownership have been successful in fueling economic viability on reservations."
Cabrera, who heads up HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing, highlighted HUD's Native American housing programs that have successfully stimulated economies in Indian Country and talked with tribal leaders on how federal policies can be improved to overcome barriers that stand in the way of economic progress.
One such program is the IHBG Cabrera awarded today. HUD gives $626 million in IHBG funding to nearly 400 tribal housing entities annually. The Yavapai-Apache Nation plans to leverage its grant funds with HUD's Section 184 Loan Guarantee program to implement a homeownership "lease to own" program. The funding will also assist five low-income families with payment assistance, plan for additional rental units, determine housing rehabilitation needs, and to maintain 99 HUD-funded homeownership units.
"It is my pleasure to present this funding to the Yavapai-Apache Nation," said Cabrera as he presented a check to the Nation's Chairman Jamie Fullmer. "HUD is proud to partner with tribal governments in their efforts to provide quality housing to Native Americans."
The IHBG program was established under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination (NAHASDA) Act of 1996. NAHASDA reorganized HUD's housing assistance to Native Americans by eliminating several separate assistance programs and replacing them with "block grant" assistance. This single needs-based grant empowers tribes to determine how best to use the funding to address specific needs of their communities. Federally recognized Indian tribes or tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) and some state recognized tribes are eligible for these grants.
The funding is used for a range of affordable housing activities on Indian reservations and Indian areas. Recipients often use the funding to build or rehabilitate existing housing; establish housing services such as community centers or clinics to support the housing; provide crime prevention and safety for housing and the creation of activities that provide creative approaches to solving affordable housing challenges in the community.
Cabrera noted that an increasing number of tribes are using HUD's Section 184 Loan Guarantee program to leverage HUD funding to create more affordable housing for their members like the Nation plans to do. This 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.
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.
Cabrera also told attendees that similarly, HUD's Title VI Loan Guarantee program allows IHBG recipients to leverage its funding by pledging current and future block grants to finance affordable housing activities within the tribal community such as buying and rehabilitating homes. The flexibility associated with the Title VI program also allows tribes to use the leverage funds as seed money to build facility infrastructure that support the housing, such as community centers, health clinics and public utilities. Significant changes were made to this program last year that will make it more effective. For example, HUD has created a method to shorten the processing time to guarantee loans. In 2006, the Title VI program has had the highest number of applications since its inception.
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 (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. PIH also manages the Office of Native American Programs, which is responsible for the implementation and administration of programs specific to Native American housing and economic development. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.