The Department of Housing and Urban Development has pointed to the Administration’s $50 million increase in budget request for the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program, to $700 million, as a potential increase in money available for tribes. But what about its second major Native funding program, the Indian Community Development Block Grant?
Looks as if the I-CDBG is seeing a flat line in its 2017 budget request, at $80 million, identical with an $80 million request for fiscal 2016. Up to $20 million of that will be used for projects that directly support Native youth, such as community facilities, pre-school centers, and transitional housing, and to attract and retain high-quality teachers in Indian country by improving teacher housing, HUD said.
However, Administration budget requests are routinely amended by Congress, so it is not possible yet to know exact funding levels.
The National Congress of American Indians has recommended funding the I-CDBG at no less than $70 million for 2017, and the IHBG at no less than $700 million. In 2016, NCAI recommended those same amounts, but the final appropriation for the IHBG was $650 million.
HUD has just announced the latest round of I-CDBG grants, and they add up to $55 million. The allocations are going to 75 Indian communities in 14 states.
Six of the grants are for more than $1 million, while the smallest is for $75,000 for each of two Alaska Native villages. Most of the awards will be used to build or rehab housing or community buildings, or go toward infrastructure that supports housing in the tribal service area.
The biggest grant by far went to the Navajo Nation, for $4.1 million. According to HUD the tribe plans to use the money to extend power lines and waterlines for six regional chapters that include Kayenta, Dilkon, Coalmine, Rockpoint, Chinle, and Many Farms.
The second-largest allocation also went to an Arizona tribe, the Tohono O’odham, for $2.75 million. The Tohono O’odham Ki:ki Association will use the funds to build 15 single-family homes.
The third-largest allocation went to Zuni Housing Authority in New Mexico to rehab 35 owner-occupied housing units on scattered sites across Zuni Pueblo. The project will create full-time jobs for 25 individuals, and all 35 units will be made more energy-efficient through rehabilitation, according to HUD.
Three other tribal housing authorities got allocations of $1.1 million apiece: the Blackfeet Housing Authority and Salish-Kootenai Housing Authority in Montana, and the Northern Ponca Housing Authority in Nebraska.
Other interesting uses of the money include $75,000 for mold remediation for the Angoon Community Association in Alaska. Tribes all over Indian country have suffered from infestations of mold, and HUD has funded projects to fix it. Angoon plans to clear 24 housing units of mold.
The Native Village of Chenega will be using its I-CDBG money of $600,000 to construct a new community service center in Chenega Bay, Alaska.
The Colorado River Indian Tribes will be using an I-CDBG funding of $825,000 to construct a fire safety substation to be located on the Colorado River Indian Reservation near the town of Parker, Arizona.