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15 tribes share $500,000 In private housing grants

WASHINGTON ? Tribes that fall through the gaps in federal funding for housing will split more than half a million dollars in grants from a new non-governmental program.

Fourteen small tribes around the country are receiving a total of $232,000 to help them build the structure necessary to tap private sources for housing money, while a pueblo in New Mexico has been awarded $310,000 to further its housing development.

Grants ranged from $5,000 to $30,000 in the first round of money from a program announced earlier this year and co-sponsored by the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), the non-profit Enterprise Foundation, and the housing insurer Amerind Risk Management Corp.

The idea behind the $1 million project, announced at

NAIHC's annual meeting earlier this year in Albuquerque, is that many smaller tribes don't get access to the funds they need through federal Indian Housing Block Grants under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA).

Although tribes split a yearly pot of $650 million, the allocation system used means smaller tribes can get tiny amounts, down

to the $50,000 minimum.

The three partners felt smaller tribes have been effectively shut out from leveraging private sources of capital because they just don't have the money, personnel or training to reach out effectively.

Tribes that get $200,000 or less in housing money from the government are eligible for the seed grants. That's fully half the tribes in the country, according to NAIHC.

Tribal entities that receive grants will also receive technical assistance and training from NAIHC and the Enterprise Foundation to achieve the capacity to tap into some of the credit sources used by bigger tribes.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, mortgage revenue bonds, Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program money, and HOME program funds are some of the funding sources housing managers will learn about.

Tribes or tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) receiving grants are:

--$30,000 to Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria in California.

--$5,000 to Cuyapaipe Band of Mission Indians in California.

--$24,100 to Eastern Shawnee Tribal Housing Authority in Missouri.

--$5,000 to Elk Valley Rancheria in California.

--$5,000 to IHA of Central California.

--$5,000 to Karluk Ira Tribal Council in Alaska.

--$4,875 to Modoc Housing Authority in Oklahoma.

--$30,000 to Native Village of Eklutna in Alaska.

--$25,000 to North Pacific Rim Housing Authority in Alaska.

--$27,836 to Northern Pueblos Housing Authority in New Mexico.

--$30,000 to Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority in Alaska.

--$5,000 to Ouzinkie Tribal Council in Alaska.

--30,000 to Pojoaque Housing Corp. in New Mexico.

--$5,000 to Seldovia Village Tribe in Alaska.

Meanwhile, a small pueblo in New Mexico has already learned how to tap those targeted sources, most recently the Affordable Housing Program (AHP) of the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

The TDHE at the San Juan pueblo in New Mexico has received $310,000 from the AHP of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. The Federal Home Loan Bank System is a semi-federal entity for housing liquidity, and

its Dallas branch includes New Mexico in its territory.

Wells Fargo Bank, which belongs to the FHLBS, sponsored the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority's application for money to help it develop a 40 unit rental project.

The grant is the last piece of funding necessary to do the project, said Deborah Webster, who has coordinated the Enterprise Foundation's efforts to help develop housing for New Mexico's tribes and pueblos.

The project, which will be constructed in tandem with a separate home-ownership project on the pueblo, has already received funding from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, the 542c program of the

Federal Housing Authority, and HOME funds.

Webster noted the project is the first development on tribal lands to get HOME money in the state, due to the efforts of the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.