U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Finds ‘Broken Promises’ in Provision of Native American Housing

The United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) released a report, Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans, in December 2018, that evaluates the federal government’s commitments to support the well-being and sovereignty of Native American tribes and villages. The report – which was sent directly to President Trump and Vice President Pence – concludes that the U.S. government has not adequately followed through on federal trust obligations regarding numerous issues, including housing. USCCR recommends increasing funding for tribal housing funding through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA).

Native American tribes and villages face a crisis of substandard housing conditions and a grave shortage of affordable housing. The number of Native American households with incomplete kitchen facilities is seven times greater than the national average and ten times greater for incomplete plumbing facilities. The Native American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) estimated that in 2013 70% of the homes in Indian Country needed repairs or upgrades. Compared with just 2.2% of all U.S. households, 15.9% of Native American households experience overcrowding. Overcrowding negatively impacts school performance and health outcomes and can contribute to ongoing problems of domestic violence. Housing shortages on reservations also present a challenge when recruiting and retaining qualified workers such as healthcare staff, judicial personnel, teachers, and contractors.

USCCR recommends NAHASDA as the best vehicle for addressing these housing challenges and promoting tribal sovereignty. NAHASDA has required reauthorization since 2013 and has received mostly flat funding since its enactment in 1996. The report highly recommends passing a spending package that is: dedicated to fully addressing unmet needs, made accessible on an equitable basis, and includes appropriate technical assistance.

Read Broken Promises at: https://bit.ly/2rPHRte