March 12, 2015

Chairman Barrasso Introduces Legislation to Reauthorize and Enhance Tribal Housing Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), introduced S. 710, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act Reauthorization of 2015 (NAHASDA). S. 710 would reauthorize the NAHASDA through fiscal year 2020 and enhance the comprehensive Federal policy that empowers Indian tribes to address housing needs. 
“Families need good, safe homes in order to thrive and live healthy lives.  There are far too many inadequate homes throughout Indian Country and we’ve got to address this problem,” Barrasso said.  “By reauthorizing this bill, we’ll empower tribes to address the housing needs of the families who live in their communities. I look forward to working with other Members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to move this bill forward as soon as possible.”
Beyond simply reauthorizing the NAHASDA, S. 710 improves upon the law by:
·        Establishing the Office of the Assistant Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to oversee Indian programs;
·        Eliminating duplicative requirements when multiple agencies are involved in housing-related activities such as when meeting the environmental review standards for a housing project and when administering programs to benefit American Indian veterans; and 
·        Authorizing tribes to more freely utilize income derived from housing assistance activities. 
The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 reorganized the Federal housing aid that Native Americans received. The reorganization empowered tribes by replacing several separate assistance programs with block grant and loan guarantee programs.
In 2002 and in 2008, the NAHASDA was reauthorized for five years.  Authorization of the NAHASDA expired on September 30, 2013.
This bill intends to reauthorize and expand provisions that empower tribes to address homelessness and under-housing needs in Indian country.