Bipartisan Bill Would Increase Homelessness Assistance in Tribal Areas

Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA) and Sean Duffy (R-WI) introduced the “Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Grants Act” (S. 2282 and H.R. 4029) on July 25. This bill aims to address homelessness among Native Americans living on tribal lands by making Tribes and tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) eligible for HUD Homeless Assistance Grants.

According to a HUD report, Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal Areas, between 42,000 and 85,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives living on tribal lands are experiencing homelessness. Doubling up to prevent homelessness is also common in tribal areas, often leading to overcrowding; nearly 16% of households across tribal areas live in overcrowded conditions, compared to 2.2% nationally.

The bill would increase the federal resources available to Tribes and TDHEs for combatting homelessness in tribal areas. Tribes and TDHEs would be able to submit funding requests through their local Continuums of Care (CoCs) and act as administrators of homeless assistance grants in their areas. Community organizations and local governments organize through a CoC – which serves as a local or regional planning system – before applying for McKinney-Vento HUD Homeless Assistance Grants. Nonprofits, local government entities, and other eligible applicants then submit funding requests for projects and programs serving people experiencing homelessness through the CoC. This bill would allow Tribes and TDHEs to fully participate with the CoC system, which they are currently unable to do. NLIHC supports this bipartisan bill.

Learn more about the Senate bill at:

Learn more about the House bill at: