News Release

U. S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the allocation of $450 million to assist with COVID related tribal housing needs. Of these available funds, more than $64 million will be going specifically to help Alaska Native communities. Vice Chairman Murkowski provided the following statement on the announcement.

“Overcrowded housing and homelessness is an issue impacting far too many communities, especially rural areas, only to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. On tribal lands across the United States, 16 percent of Native households experience overcrowding, and the figure is double that in Alaska Native villages. In rural Alaska villages, 36 percent of households have incomplete plumbing, incomplete kitchens or overcrowding. It’s an uphill battle fighting coronavirus — or any other diseases for that matter — when we have so many people living in poor conditions detrimental to their health and well-being. These much-needed funds from HUD will help Native communities in Alaska, and throughout the United States, make steps to improve housing and more in their efforts toward recovery from COVID-19,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “There are many barriers to providing safe and affordable housing to communities located in hard-to-reach areas of Alaska. These funds will continue to ensure that tribal communities have access to resources necessary for their members to seek out safe and affordable housing during these challenging times.” 

In August 2018, Senator Murkowski chaired a Committee field hearing in the remote, Native Village of Savoonga, Alaska. During the field hearing on “Overcrowded Housing and the Impacts on American Indian and Alaska Natives,” a panel of witnesses gave testimonials to the issue, as well as solutions to overcrowded housing and housing affordability. As Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Murkowski continues to work with Tribal communities to identify and find viable, innovative solutions to address the housing needs in Tribal communities.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2) requires that the funds available for allocation are in accordance with Title I of the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) and distributed under the same funding formula used in Fiscal Year 2021. These funds are to help Indian Tribes recover from housing issues further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the list of awardees, click here.

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