California Partners Release New Study on Tribal Housing Needs and Opportunities

The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH), an NLIHC state partner, released on August 14 a comprehensive study on California Tribal Housing Needs and Opportunities: A Vision Forward. The study focuses on the housing needs of American Indians living in tribal areas in California and recommends expanding state-level resources to better meet these needs.

CCRH and RCAC conducted the study from 2015 to 2019 using a variety of data, including questionnaire responses from tribal housing leaders and surveys in tribal areas, to better understand the housing needs of American Indians in California. Almost one-fifth of all federally recognized tribes are located in California, although most American Indians in the state do not live on tribal land. The study found that nearly one third of those who are living in tribal areas in the state live below the federal poverty line – more than twice the rate of the general population in California. Many Native households live in single-family homes or mobile homes, with more than a third of families living in overcrowded conditions. Over 60% of these homes were built more than three decades ago, and nearly one fifth need major physical improvements. Many drinking water and wastewater systems in tribal areas are at or beyond capacity, and many households rely on individual septic systems, which inhibits new housing development.

Tribal Nations in California have mostly been excluded from state housing programs – with the exception of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit since 2014 – and rely heavily on federal resources, which are chronically underfunded. CCRH and RCAC recommend that state housing programs be reformed to allow California tribes and tribal housing entities to participate and to accommodate issues of sovereignty and land ownership. The study also proposes the state provide additional resources and programs to help build tribal capacity.

Read the full report at: