President Barack Obama is allocating $748 million of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2016 fiscal budget to aid the housing and development needs in Native communities. The president made the announcement on Feb. 2.
“When Native American communities succeed, our nation succeeds,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a news release. “The President’s FY 2016 Budget proposal is a blueprint for greater opportunity for all Americans.”
This proposal reflects a $25 million increase over current funding levels, and allots a fund for teacher housing to attract more educators to Indian Country, according to a HUD report.
Also according to the report, the proposed FY 2016 budget includes:
-- $660 million through HUD’s Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) Program, an increase of $10 million over the FY15 enacted budget, to help tribal grantees to invest in new homes, infrastructure and economic development. Grantees will be able to construct, acquire, or rehabilitate homeownership units and rental units.
-- $80 million under the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program, a $14 million increase from FY 2015, including the $10 million set-aside for teacher housing. Indian CDBG funds are awarded competitively and used by federally recognized Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and tribal organizations for a wide variety of needs, including producing affordable housing, public facilities and job creation.
-- $8 million for the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee program (Section 184) Program, a $1 million increase over 2015, to tribal communities to access private capital as a means of stimulating their affordable housing and homeownership programs.
The president’s plan would also allow for $177.5 million in “special purpose vouchers” that include rental vouchers for families, veterans, and for Native Americans who are homelessness, as well as victims of domestic violence. Those vouchers can also be used for newly constructed and acquired housing, according to a HUD press release.
ICTMN reported earlier that President Obama also requested $1 billion to transform American Indian education, a $138 million increase from the current funding level. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that the recommendation marked the highest level of funding for American Indian education since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In January, HUD and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) developed a program to expand its assistance to homeless Native American veterans. Through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, this aid aims to help veterans find permanent and supportive housing.
“By increasing funding for Native American communities, the president’s Budget would give more families a fair chance to get ahead,” Castro said. “HUD is deeply committed to working with our partners to shape a future where every person has the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”