WASHINGTON - Tribes can still get a piece of $25 million in grants from an
often-threatened government program - but they have to act fast.
The deadline for applying for $25 million from the Department of Housing
and Urban Development's 2004 Rural Housing and Economic Development program
is May 24.
The Bush administration tried to zero out the program for 2004, but
Congress reinstated it. It has done the same thing for the 2005 RHED
program, whose status is in limbo.
Federally recognized tribes are one of the groups that gets targeted for
RHED funding, although there is no specific set aside. In previous years
tribes have taken down 25 - 33 percent of awards, meaning $6 to $8 million
each year that can be used for housing projects or economic development.
Maximum award for a regular RHED grant is $400,000, while the maximum for a
"capacity-building" grant is $150,000.
For fiscal year 2003, tribes took down about 25 percent of the $25 million
awarded. That came to 20 tribally-related awards out of a total of 87. In
fiscal year 2003, three dozen tribes earned awards, taking a third of the
Examples of groups earning 2003 awards include the Navajo Partnership for
Housing, Arizona; Oti Kaga, Inc., South Dakota; the Lakota Fund, South
Dakota; and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing, also South
In other government Indian housing news, the Federal Home Loan Bank of
Seattle, a "GSE" or government-sponsored entity, announced it made nine
awards to tribal housing projects in 2003 through its Affordable Housing
The AHP is a mandatory set aside of 10 percent of the bank's profits to
benefit affordable housing. The Seattle bank has 11 sister institutions
around the nation and the ones based near Indian country have targeted
Native projects with the money.
In addition, the Seattle FHLB last year became the first of the 12
"district banks" to buy a HUD Title VI loan. It bought a loan guaranteed by
HUD through Title VI of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self
Determination Act to build seven homes in Dillingham, Alaska. The lender
was Wells Fargo Bank.
Under the AHP, the Seattle district bank in 2003 funded more than $2.5
million in Native housing projects. Seven of them were in Alaska and
Hawaii, which are in the Seattle district. District member financial
institutions have to sponsor the programs.
In Alaska, Wells Fargo Bank Alaska sponsored the Tlingit-Haida Housing
Authority for a $224,975 grant to build 25 single-family homes in Juneau.
First National Bank of Alaska sponsored Cook Inlet Housing Authority,
Anchorage, for $323,964 to help construct apartments for Native and
In Galena, the Louden Tribal Council got $400,000 for its Housing Authority
to build a 13-unit, assisted living facility for the elderly. Wells Fargo
Bank Alaska was the sponsor.
In Hawaii, First Hawaiian Bank sponsored the Hawaii Community Development
Board for a project to build 25 manufactured homes for Native Hawaiians
living in substandard housing in Nanakuli. A total of $325,526 was awarded.
American Savings Bank sponsored the same group to build the same number of
units for Native Hawaiians in Waichuli/Kula, for an award of $424,875.
Washington Mutual Bank was the sponsor for an award of $404,955 to the
Department of Hawaiian Homelands for 45 new units of housing for low-income
Native Hawaiians in Kapolei. The same amount was sponsored by Bank of
America Oregon to help DHH build 45 homes in Wailuku.
On the mainland, FHLB-Seattle sponsored a rehab project at Aneth, Utah, on
the Navajo reservation, and the Apache Dawn housing project on the White
Mountain Apache homelands in Arizona. Interestingly, the White Mountain
Apache are not in the Seattle bank's district, which made for a fairly rare
out-of-district award for Apache Dawn.