Senator Rounds Comments on HUD’s New ‘Need and Capacity’ Tribal Housing Grant

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) submitted a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson on October 29 regarding a new $100 million competitive housing grant for Native Americans, which was included in the FY18 omnibus spending package. The letter urges HUD to utilize a national competition and target tribes with inadequate resources to meet their housing needs. NLIHC joined with more than 40 Native American tribes, tribal leaders and housing authorities on a similar letter sent to HUD on October 1 (see Memo 10/9).

Native Americans living in tribal areas and remote Alaskan villages have some of the greatest housing needs in the U.S., with exceptionally high poverty rates, low incomes, overcrowding, lack of plumbing and heat, and unique development issues. Despite the pressing need for safe, decent, affordable homes, however, funding for the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program – the main source of housing assistance for Native American communities – has been underfunded for decades. This new competitive funding will allow tribal housing entities to build and rehabilitate desperately needed affordable homes for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

In the letter, Senator Rounds urges HUD to consider implementing a single nationwide competition to determine how the new “Need and Capacity” grants should be distributed. “Appropriators sought to have HUD find a different means of determining which tribes should be allocated additional funds,” Senator Rounds states in his letter. He suggests HUD consider tribes’ resources – determined in part by median income and poverty rate – when determining relative housing need. The letter sent by NLIHC and tribal partners makes similar suggestions, expanding the definition of need to include overcrowding and urging HUD to allocate sufficient resources to overcome development barriers.

Read the letter from Senator Rounds at:

Read NLIHC’s letter at: