Representative Denny Heck (D-WA) and seven bipartisan cosponsors introduced on December 5 the “Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2019” (H.R. 5319), which would reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) through 2024. Funding under NAHASDA programs is the main source of federal assistance to ensure American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have access to safe, accessible, and affordable housing. Authorization for most NAHASDA programs expired in 2013 although Congress has continued to fund them.
The bill includes new provisions aimed at addressing the housing crisis in tribal areas. Native Americans living in tribal areas have some of the worst housing needs in the U.S., with exceptionally high poverty rates, low incomes, overcrowding, lack of plumbing and heat, and unique barriers to development. In addition to current NAHASDA programs, H.R. 5319 authorizes the Tribal HUD-VASH program – currently a demonstration – as well as the Native American Housing Block Grant Competitive program, which has been funded for the past two years.
The bill also creates set-asides for tribal housing within USDA programs and makes tribes eligible for HUD housing counseling grants. The NAHASDA reauthorization would also elevate the Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) within HUD to have its own assistant secretary. Currently, ONAP is housed within the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and is lead by a deputy assistant secretary.
Learn more about the bill at: https://tinyurl.com/ujbjhnv