Tribes get $100 million for housing

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WASHINGTON – Fifty tribes have been awarded $100 million in federal stimulus money to bolster housing and stimulate community development.

The money comes from $510 million earmarked for tribal housing by the administration, and more specifically from $255 million put out to competitive bidding. The other half was awarded to nearly 600 tribes and housing entities according to the formula used to allocate federal housing assistance to American Indians each year.

In all, the funds represent an additional 75 percent above tribes’ customary housing block grants of more than $600 million.

Three tribes or tribal housing entities got the largest grants, $5 million each – Cook Inlet Housing Authority of Anchorage, Alaska; the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Okla.; and the Muscogee Creek Nation, Okmulgee, Okla. The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, got $4 million, as did the Oglala Lakota Sioux Housing Authority, Pine Ridge, S.D., and the SWA Corp. on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

The smallest grant made through the Native American Housing Block Program was for just over $1 million to the Kalispel Tribe in Usk, Wash. Total grants came to $93.2 million.

The remaining $6.9 million came through the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program. The largest grant was $600,000 awarded to several tribes, including the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe of Alaska, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, Loleta, Calif. and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Baraga, Mich. The smallest amount was to the Akiachak Native Community, Akiachak, Alaska, for $299,215.

These funds are to be used for economic development, which can include housing as some ICDBG money goes to fund infrastructure for housing projects.

HUD gave priority during the bidding process to those projects that could quickly obligate and spend the funds awarded, to help stimulate the national economy.

Total funding for the housing block grant stimulus program is $242.2 million and $10 million through the ICDBG; more than $152 million is yet to be awarded through competitive bidding. HUD plans to award the rest of the money on a rolling basis as it finds suitable proposals from tribes.