Senator Rounds updates South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition about progress towards increasing access to mortgages for Native American veterans

Pictured: Members of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition visit with U.S. Senator Rounds in Washington, D.C. in February 2020. Pictured (left to right): Mark Witt, Tribal Veterans Service Officer for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe; JC Crawford of CBJ Producers; Robert Dunsmore, Tribal Veterans Service Officer for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; U.S. Senator Mike Rounds; Sharon Vogel, Cheyenne River Housing Authority; and Eric Shepherd, Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority.(Photo: South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition)

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Levels of participation have historically been very low

News Release

South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition

Yesterday, Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) provided an update letter to the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition on his reformation efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Native American Direct Loan program is intended to provide mortgage financing for Native American veterans living in reservation communities, levels of participation have historically been very low.

Earlier this month, Rounds, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), along with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT), called on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Native American Direct Loan program. The Senators requested the evaluation of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Native American Direct Loan program out of concern that it is not effectively serving Native American veterans. This request is a critical step towards programmatic improvements through legislative or other means. 

“It’s been a long-time coming but thanks to Senator Rounds’ leadership, we are finally starting to see some progress with reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Native American Direct Loan program,” says Robert Dunsmore, Tribal Veteran Service Officer for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and also the Co-Chair of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition’s Native Veterans Homeownership Committee.

Over the past several months, Rounds and his staff have met with Department of Veterans Affairs officials and several tribal communities to gain a thorough understanding of the challenges within the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Native American Direct Loan program. During this time, they have also worked collaboratively with the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition’s Native Veterans Homeownership Committee to explore potential solutions that would result in higher rates of homeownership for Native American veterans

“We appreciate the time Senator Rounds and his staff have taken to come here to the Lake Traverse Reservation to see the homes we have built and hear about our concerns. Our veterans deserve to be homeowners, especially after serving our country in higher numbers than any other ethnic group in America,” says Geri Opsal, Tribal Veteran Service Officer for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and also Co-Chair of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition’s Native Veterans Homeownership Committee.

A copy of the letter from Senator Rounds to the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition can be viewed here:

https://www.sdnativehomeownershipcoalition.org/2019/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/MMR-Signed_NADL-Update-Letter-to-SDNHC-24-Jun-20.pdf

About the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition

The South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition was born out of a need to expand homeownership opportunities for Native Americans in the state of South Dakota. Created in 2013, the Coalition is a diverse group of agencies, institutions, and organizations that works to increase homeownership opportunities for South Dakota’s Native people to build strong and healthy communities. Its growing group of members includes representatives of South Dakota’s tribes, federal and state agencies, tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs), nonprofit organizations, housing developers, lenders, and community development financial institutions. The South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition works to increase Native homeownership rates by strategically leveraging knowledge and resources among stakeholders and other key entities. More information about the Coalition can be found at www.sdnativehomeownershipcoalition.org. 

South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, SDNHC logo
(Image: South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition)
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