The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced 22 awards, totaling approximately $128 million for affordable housing investments in Tribal communities.
HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge made the announcement in Kenai, Alaska, where she presented $7.5 million to the Kenaitze-Salamatof to build 18 new housing units to increase the number of homes available to low-income Alaskan Native families.
“This vital funding allows Tribes to make investments in safe, affordable housing,” said HUD Secretary Fudge. “I am pleased to make this announcement here in Kenai, Alaska, where Tribes face pressing and unique challenges in providing housing to families. Indian Housing Block Grant Competitive awards provide Tribes with funding to address these challenges in ways that best serve their communities.”
The Indian Housing Block Grant Competitive (IHBG) funds play a crucial role in bolstering American Indian and Alaska Native communities. These funds are designated for various purposes, such as new construction, rehabilitation, and infrastructure to support affordable housing within Indian reservations and similar areas. The IHBG Competitive program holds particular significance for Tribal communities as it injects essential financial resources that aid in establishing new affordable housing options for disadvantaged Tribal families.
The IHBG program is authorized under Title I of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996, as amended, (25 U.S.C. 4101 et seq.) (NAHASDA). Under the program, eligible Indian tribes, and tribally-designated housing entities (TDHEs) receive grants to carry out a range of affordable housing activities.
This funding serves as a valuable addition to the yearly IHBG formula funding, which often falls short in covering the expenses of constructing new homes and is typically allocated for the operation and upkeep of current housing. Notably, since 2019, the IHBG Competitive grants awarded to Tribes have surpassed the corresponding IHBG Formula grants by an average of 67%. Furthermore, 94% of these awards have been channeled towards supporting the construction of new housing units, addressing a pressing need across Indian country.
HUD recognizes that this additional IHBG funding provides a rare opportunity to fund strong and viable affordable housing projects in Indian Country. These projects could begin to address the concerns identified in the study. In accordance with the Appropriations Acts, HUD will give priority to projects that spur construction and rehabilitation, while considering need and administrative capacity. HUD strongly encourages new affordable housing construction projects that will increase the number of housing units available for low-income Indian families and help address the housing shortage in Indian Country. Additionally, HUD encourages housing rehabilitation projects that will increase the useful life of existing affordable housing units and alleviate substandard housing conditions. HUD also encourages necessary affordable housing-related infrastructure projects that will enable future construction or rehabilitation.