September 27, 2008

Dorgan Says Indian Housing Bill Will Address Housing Crisis in Indian Communities

Chairman Byron Dorgan today heralded the passage of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2008, saying that the housing crisis existing for American Indian and Alaska Native families must be addressed.
The bill passed last night reauthorized and enhanced the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), adopted in 1996. The act provides formula-based block grant assistance to Indian tribes, which allows them the flexibility to design housing programs to address the needs of their communities.
“There is a bona-fide crisis in housing for Indian families across the nation,” said Dorgan. “Adequate housing is the first and most necessary step in building a strong community. This bill is more than just a housing act—it will give tribes more authority over their own land and truly help build stronger communities in Indian Country.”
90,000 Indian families are homeless or under-housed in the U.S. Of those who do have housing, approximately 40 percent of on-reservation housing is considered inadequate, and over one-third of Indian homes are overcrowded.
The legislation passed today will strengthen NAHASDA by providing tribes with increased flexibility, with the goal of producing more homes in Indian Country. The bill will allow funds to be utilized for community buildings such as day-care centers, Laundromats, and multi-purpose community centers, with the hope of not only building homes, but also building communities. The bill also authorizes a study to assess the existing data sources for determining the need for housing and funding programs.