The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $56.5 million to 77 Native American communities to improve housing conditions and stimulate community development.
HUD’s ICDBG (Indian Community Development Block Grants) are meant to fund construction projects and local jobs on Native homelands annually.
Tribes in 22 states were allocated money. The Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah received the biggest allocation, at $4.2 million. The money is intended to help the tribe extend power lines to 10 locations that do not have them—Birdsprings, Dilkon, Lechee, Kinlichee, Cove, Mexican Waters, Sweetwater, Red Mesa, Red Valley, and Tsaile/Wheatfields.
The Tohono O’odham Ki:Ki Association in Arizona got the second-largest allocation, $2.75 million. It plans to build 10 new single-family homeownership units to help reduce a housing waiting list of 180 families.
One of the Navajo’s smaller neighbors received more than $2 million. The Pueblo of Zuni, in New Mexico, is getting $2.2 million to rehabilitate 39 owner-occupied housing units and make them more energy efficient. The tribe, through its housing authority, is contributing $735,000 to the project, which will create as many as 25 full-time jobs.
Seven other tribes received grants of $1 million apiece, including the Blackfeet and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes in Montana and the Oglala Lakota in South Dakota.
The All Mission Indian Housing Authority of the La Jolla Reservation in California is using $605,000 to provide the west side of its community with water. To address the effects of the ongoing drought in California, the tribe has three water infrastructure improvements planned, the agency said.
Near Auburn, Washington the Muckleshoot Housing Authority will use its $500,000 grant to improve 10 housing units, making them more energy-efficient and creating three jobs in the process, said HUD.
“Near the City of El Reno, Oklahoma, the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe will use its $800,000 grant to construct the Concho Head Start Center which will include five classrooms and a large multi-purpose room to serve 57 low-income children and their families with programming to address their educational, emotional, social, cultural, health, nutritional, and psychological needs,” the federal department said.
The ICDBG program was established in 1977 to help Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages meet their community development needs. Federally recognized Indian tribes, bands, groups or nations (including Alaska Indian, Aleuts and Eskimos,) Alaska Native villages, and eligible tribal organizations compete for this funding each year.
HUD said communities can use the grants to rehab or build new housing; to buy land for housing; for infrastructure projects such as roads, water and sewer facilities; and to spur economic development including jobs.
HUD administers seven programs that are specifically targeted to American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian individuals and families, and federally recognized tribal governments. HUD will provide $798 million in FY 2017 to fund programs that support housing and development initiatives in those communities.
The biggest HUD Indian housing program is the Indian Housing Block Grant, which generally is funded to the tune of about $650 million annually. HUD also administers two loan funds, the HUD 184 Indian guaranteed mortgage program, and the Title VI program for housing project loans. Title VI gets its name from a section of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA). NAHASDA also provides legal authority for the IHBG program.