Housing funder makes tribal grants

WASHINGTON, DC ? The Housing Assistance Council hopes to repeat this year what it did in 2001 ? funneling more than a hundred thousand dollars into housing non-profits serving Indian country.

HAC last year received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to give out to more than fifty rural housing nonprofits, and about ten of those were American Indian-related.

"We hope to" do the same again, said Leslie Strauss, director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based group. "I don't know yet whether HAC will get money under either of those two programs," she said. The group will, however, re-apply as soon as the Agriculture Department puts out a NOFA (notice of funds availability), and it is in discussions with the Enterprise Foundation, which provides matching funds for the HUD grant.

The funds assist the rural housing groups with salaries, training and computer or other equipment purchases. Enterprise grantees may also receive a community development library sponsored by the group. Some of the USDA grantees may participate in an exchange program where staff from more experienced non-profits show beginners the ropes.

Last year, $1.25 million came from USDA ($633,000, matched by foundations) and $354,100 came from HUD and Enterprise.

Many of the USDA grantees received $30,000 apiece, while the HUD recipients averaged about $13,000 apiece.

Among non-profits working in American Indian, Native Alaskan or Native Hawaiian areas to get grants were:

-- Oti Kaga, Inc., based in Eagle Butte, S.D. on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation (Oti Kaga received grants under both programs);

-- Turtle Mountain Community Development Foundation, Belcourt, N.D. (on the

Turtle Mountain reservation);

-- Spirit Lake Housing Assistance Program, Fort Totten, N.D. (on the Devils Lake reservation);

-- Native American Housing Services, Inc., Anadarko, Okla.;

-- Twilight Dawn, Inc., Window Rock, Ariz. (on the Navajo reservation);

-- Rural Alaska Community Development Corp., Anchorage;

-- Self-Help Housing Corp. of Hawaii, Honolulu.