Statement of Michael Liu
March 7, 2002
Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing
Committee on Indian Affairs
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, and Members of the Committee,
thank you for inviting me to provide comments on President Bush's
budget for HUD's Indian Housing and Community Development programs
for fiscal year 2003.
My name is Michael Liu, and I am the Assistant Secretary for Public
and Indian Housing. I am responsible for the management, operation
and oversight of HUD's Native American programs. These programs
are available to over 550 Federally-recognized, and a limited number
of state-recognized Indian tribes. We serve these tribes directly,
or through tribally designated housing entities (TDHE), by providing
grants and loan guarantees designed to support affordable housing
activities and viable community and economic development. Our clientele
is diverse; they are located on Indian reservations, in Alaska Native
Villages, and in other traditional Indian areas.
In addition to those duties, my jurisdiction encompasses the public
housing program, which aids the nation's 3,000-plus public housing
agencies in providing housing and housing-related assistance to
It is a pleasure to again appear before you, and I would like to
express my appreciation for your continuing efforts to improve the
housing conditions of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.
As you have heard in the tribal testimony at the recent NAHASDA
hearing, much progress is being made and tribes are taking advantage
of new opportunities to improve the housing conditions of the Native
American families residing on Indian reservations, on trust or restricted
Indian lands and in Alaska Native Villages. That momentum needs
to be sustained as we continue to work together toward creating
a better living environment across Indian Country.
At the outset, let me reaffirm the Department of Housing and Urban
Development's support for the principle of government-to-government
relations with Indian tribes. HUD is committed to honoring this
fundamental precept in our work with American Indians and Alaska
You may recall that when I testified before you last month, I confirmed
that the Department was searching for a Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Native American Programs. Tribal representatives and Members
of this Committee spoke in support of setting the level for that
position to Senior Executive Service (SES). In the spirit of cooperation,
Secretary Martinez has agreed to re-advertise for the position as
For Fiscal Year 2003, the President's budget proposes a total of
$740.5 million, specifically for Native American and Native Hawaiian
housing, community and economic development, and education programs.
Of that amount, approximately $639 million is for direct, formula
allocations under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination
Act's (NAHASDA) Indian Housing Block Grant Program, $71 million
is for grants under the Indian Community Development Block Grant
Program, and $7 million is for the Native American Section 184 and
Title VI loan guarantees. That loan authority will leverage $214
million in loan guarantees.
The Native Hawaiian community will receive, through the Department
of Hawaiian Home Lands, $10 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing
Block Grant Program and $1 million for the Section 184A Native Hawaiian
Home Loan Guarantee Fund, which will leverage approximately $40
million in loan guarantees.
There is $5.6 million available for training and technical assistance
to support these programs.
Finally, the Department requests $5.4 million to support American
Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-oriented higher education
INDIAN HOUSING BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM (IHBG)
Adjustments in the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program have
been made to allow for more funds to be available for tribal use.
The FY 2003 budget includes $646.6 million for the IHBG program.
Although this is a decrease of $2 million from FY 2002, reducing
set-asides will actually allow for a $6.4 million increase in grant
dollars available to tribes.
The decreases in set-asides are from the Training and Technical
Assistance category, Title VI Program, and Working Capital Fund.
HUD TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The Training and Technical Assistance component of this program
has been reduced to $3 million, down from $5 million the previous
year. This action was taken in recognition that several years have
passed since implementation of this program, and most tribes have
been provided with the initial and in-depth training and technical
assistance necessary to implement such a new and sweeping change
in the way we do business. Training and Technical Assistance remains
a critical component of the program, and we propose that a portion
of it be accomplished in partnership with the National American
Indian Housing Council.
NAIHC TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The President's Budget includes a $2.2 million set-aside from the
IHBG Program to continue the same level of support as provided in
last year's budget to the National American Indian Housing Council.
These funds, as in the past, will be made available under a contract
to the organization in return for their training and technical assistance
services to NAHASDA grantees. I would encourage the NAIHC to work
with the Department to ensure that these funds are obligated expeditiously,
and that the training and technical assistance activities occur
as soon as is feasible. In FY 2000, HUD executed a $2 million training
and technical assistance contract with NAIHC. As of December, 2001,
less than $500,000 of those funds had been expended.
TITLE VI TRIBAL HOUSING ACTIVITIES LOAN GUARANTEE FUND
The Title VI Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee Fund (Title
VI), is also a set-aside under the IHBG Program. This budget recognizes
that until the program is more fully subscribed, it is more effective
to use available funds in the IHBG Program and allocate it by formula
directly to IHBG grantees. There is sufficient carry-over of unused
guarantee authority which, when combined with this year's budget
request, will support anticipated future program needs. This allows
$4 million to be added back into the IHBG formula.
WORKING CAPITAL FUND
In the Department's FY 2002 IHBG appropriation, not less than $3
million was allocated to the Working Capital Fund for internal information
technology improvements. In an attempt to better prorate the amount
required from each program it was determined that the amount allocated
from the FY 2003 IHBG account should be reduced to $600,000. This
$2.4 million reduction from the FY 2002 appropriation is included
in a direct appropriation to the Working Capital Fund.
SECTION 184 INDIAN HOUSING LOAN GUARANTEE FUND
Last year, the Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund received
its first annual credit subsidy reestimate, as required by the Credit
Reform Act. The reestimate resulted in a reduced subsidy rate which
tripled loan amounts available for guarantee when holding Budget
Authority constant during FY 2002. The subsidy rate declined due
in part to the low number of defaults. The $1 million reduction
in the FY 2003 budget request reflects the impact of that recalculation
adjusted by anticipated utilization. The $5 million in FY 2003 provides
to $197.24 million in loan guarantee authority.
INDIAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM
The President's FY 2003 Budget request for the Indian Community
Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program is $72.5 million. This budget
will provide an increase of $2.5 million over the amount appropriated
in FY 2002. $1.5 million is allocated to the operation of the Native
American Economic Development Access Center (Native eDGE).
Native eDGE, which began as a pilot project within the Department,
is now an interagency initiative linking 18 Federal agencies through
a single economic development access center so that tribes, Native
Americans, lending institutions, non-profits, foundations and private
businesses can collaborate to promote economic growth and find innovative
solutions to chronic economic development problems in Indian Country.
The President's Budget requests that $1.5 million be set-aside from
the ICDBG allocation to continue support of this award winning and
much needed initiative.
NATIVE HAWAIIAN HOUSING BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM
For FY 2003, the Department is requesting $10 million. This budget
recognizes the unique housing needs of Native Hawaiian families
eligible to reside on the Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Department
is now beginning to meet those needs. A further acknowledgement
is the establishment of a separate program account for the Native
Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program. It is anticipated that an
Interim Regulation implementing the new Native Hawaiian Housing
Block Grant Program will be published in the Federal Register
within the next two months. This action will facilitate immediate
distribution of funds and implementation of the program while public
comments are being received toward publication of final regulations.
SECTION 184A NATIVE HAWAIIAN HOUSING LOAN GUARANTEE FUND
The Budget requests that $1 million be allocated to the Section
184A Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund. At that level
of funding, this new loan guarantee program, modeled after the Section
184 Program, will provide up to $40 million in loan guarantee authority
to guarantee market-rate mortgage loans to income-eligible Native
Hawaiian families who choose to reside on the Hawaiian Home Lands.
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), a State agency, is
the primary program partner. DHHL is the agency responsible for
allocation of leasehold interests on the Hawaiian Home Lands. Program
procedures and activities will mirror the Section 184 Program as
closely as is appropriate. Until direct-endorsement lenders are
approved, the ONAP National Programs Office will work closely with
DHHL and individual borrowers to review, underwrite and issue guarantee
certificates for all loans.
TRIBAL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND ALASKA NATIVE AND NATIVE
HAWAIIAN SERVING INSTITUTIONS
The President's budget request includes, under the Community Development
Fund, $3 million for competitive grants to tribal colleges and universities
to provide resources to build, expand, renovate and equip their
facilities, and $2.4 million to assist Alaska Native and Native
Hawaiian serving institutions, as they are defined under the Higher
Education Act, as amended.
Finally, let me state for the record that the President's budget
request for HUD's Indian housing, community development and education
programs supports the progress being made by tribes in providing
housing and housing-related activities in Indian Country.
This concludes my prepared remarks. I would be happy to answer
any questions you may have.
Content Archived: June 25, 2010