February 17, 2022

Schatz, Murkowski Lead Committee Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Advance Native American Housing Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, led Committee passage of their Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2021. Last year, Schatz, Murkowski, and former Committee Chairmen Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced this bipartisan legislation. Former Committee Chairman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined the bill as cosponsors.


“For over two decades, NAHASDA has delivered federal funding directly to Tribes, Tribal organizations, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to serve Native communities’ housing needs,” said Chairman Schatz. “NAHASDA’s legacy of success is undeniable, and our bipartisan bill is now one step closer to making sure it will continue helping Native families find safe, affordable housing in their communities. I thank the members of the Committee for all their work to move this important priority forward.”


“Our NAHASDA bill reauthorizes programs and services that provide vital housing and related infrastructure projects to Native communities. Through the legislation, needed reforms will be implemented to ensure that the Native American housing programs will be streamlined and work for the communities that these programs serve. I’m pleased the Indian Affairs Committee favorably passed this bill and look forward to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues to secure final passage,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski.


The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2021 builds on Native American housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development authorized by NAHASDA, including the Indian Housing Block Grant and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant programs. Bills that would reauthorize NAHASDA have been introduced in every successive Congress since 2013.


The bipartisan bill is supported by the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities.


“The National American Indian Housing Council is pleased that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is taking action and reporting the NAHASDA reauthorization bill to the full Senate. The Council thanks Senators Schatz and Murkowski for reviving efforts to finally get NAHASDA reauthorized as the program celebrates 25 years of success,” said NAIHC Acting Chairperson and Seneca Nation Housing Authority Executive Director Adrian Stevens. “Covid-19 presented many housing challenges for tribal communities, and by reauthorizing NAHASDA, lawmakers would create certainty that these vital programs can continue to provide resources for tribes and create affordable housing opportunities for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian people. NAIHC urges all Senators to support the bill’s passage and enactment this year.”


“We welcome the reauthorization of NAHASDA at a time where the Hawaiian community is commemorating the 100th centennial of the signing of Hawaiian Homes Commission Act,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Ailā Jr. “I would like to acknowledge Senator Schatz, Hawaii’s congressional delegation, and Senator Murkowski for their diligent efforts to bring this legislation forward and we send aloha to our American Indian and Alaska Native cousins for their continued support of Title VIII. The proposed improvements to the program will provide much needed stability and assist DHHL with the creation of more housing units and additional housing services.”


“NAHASDA is the main vehicle for providing housing and housing related services to Tribal Communities across the country, however, it has been expired since 2013.  Providing services under a program that has expired brings uncertainty to housing practitioners and funders when leveraging funding to develop safe, sanitary and affordable housing in our communities.  We are thankful for the Committee’s work to make NAHASDA Reauthorization a priority and this is a positive step forward to make the elusive reauthorization, a reality. We urge Congress to act to reauthorize NAHASDA,” said Association of Alaska Housing Authorities Executive Director Colleen Dushkin.


Full bill text is available here.