Affordable housing efforts for 587 Native American tribes in dozens of states have received a boost of $660 million in federal money, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Tuesday.
The money is part of the Indian Housing Block Grant program, which is the single largest source of affordable housing help for Native American communities, HUD officials said. The money will go to low-income families on Indian reservations or in Alaska Native or American Indian communities.
Officials released the full list of tribes in 35 states that will receive money. For example, the Hopi Tribe in Arizona is set to receive more than $6.1 million to help members with housing. While the Pueblo of Zuni in New Mexico will receive more than $2.8 million, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Mississippi will be able to use more than $3.1 million for housing.
In California, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria will be able to use more than $874,300 to help its members with housing.
These grants can be used for housing development, housing services for eligible families and individuals, crime prevention and safety, housing management services, assistance for housing developed under the Housing Act of 1937 and innovative approaches to solving affordable housing problems, officials said.
“Tribes use this funding to build new homes, or to solve their most pressing housing issues,” Julian Castro, secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said in a statement. “Our partnerships with tribal communities and leaders are critical today to help ensure better housing, neighborhoods and economic opportunities for tomorrow.”
This specific federal housing program, officials said, have helped Native American tribes acquire a total of nearly 37,000 affordable homes and rehabilitate about 77,000 housing units. The amount of each grant was based on a formula that took into consideration tribal needs and housing already under management.
In addition to the $660 million in grants, federal housing officials on Friday announced $55.5 million in housing assistance for 75 Native American communities. Those housing grants were provided under the Indian Community Development Block Grant program.
Robert T. Coulter, executive director of the Indian Law Resource Center, has said that 36 percent of American Indian families live in poverty, higher than the 9 percent rate for all other families. For Native women with children, he said, the poverty rate is nearly 57 percent.
He has called on U.S. laws to help end poverty in Indian country.