A Guide to Tribal Housing Programs

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The 2020 US Census Report indicated about 2.9% of the population identifies as American Indian and Alaska Native by themselves or in a combination of the two. As one of the smallest racial groups in the US, as well as continual minority gaps in wages that exist, federally funded tribal housing programs are available to help with housing — all while respecting Native American tribal self-governance.

Here’s an overview of some of the tribal housing programs and what you need as a tribal member in order to qualify:

The Office of Native American Programs (ONAP)

The ONAP in 1996 consolidated a variety of federal tribal housing programs that provided aid to low-income Native Americans into recurring block grant programs. This means individual tribes can “self-determine the plan, design, construction and maintenance of affordable housing on Indian reservations and Native communities” according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Below are a breakdown of the six programs available, and how to qualify:

Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG)

What it is: This grant provides funding for housing counseling, self-sufficiency services, energy auditing, and resident organization establishment.

How to qualify: Be a federally recognized Indian tribe, a tribal designated housing entity (TDHE), or a state recognized tribe.

The Challenges And Rewards Of Serving Native American Tribes CTA

The Housing Improvement Program (HIP)

What it is: A grant to buy, replace, repair, or renovate a home. This is with the goal to help people with safe and sanitary housing for Native American and Alaska Native communities. 

How to qualify: Be a federally recognized member of an Indian tribe or Alaska Native while living in an approved tribal service area. Your income must also not exceed certain limits past the US Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines, and have any other housing assistance.

Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program

What it is: Provides rightful accessibility to Natives needing mortgage loans. These loans can be used both on and off Native lands, or if you need to rehabilitate an existing home or refinance it, or purchase a new home. Adjustable-rate mortgages and commercial buildings do not qualify under this grant.

How to qualify: Be a federally recognized Indian tribal member or Alaska Native, TDHE, or Indian housing authorities.

Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG)

What it is: An annual competition in the form of single purpose grants for housing needs ranging from land acquisition, community facilities, infrastructure construction, and economic activities that benefit low and moderate-income people.

How to qualify: Any Indian tribe, band, group, or nation of Alaska Native village with an established relationship to the federal government. Some tribal organizations are also eligible to apply.

Title VI Loan Guarantee Program

What it is: This is an assistance program designed to finance eligible affordable housing activities. It’s included under public investments as an additional source of financing for creating new housing, building infrastructure, land acquisition, and funding financing costs.

How to qualify: The same requirements are in place for the Indian Housing Block Grant Program. 

Have questions about which loans or tribal housing programs your tribe qualifies for? Or perhaps you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your tribal organization and optimize your services for better funding? Be sure to download our free eBook on getting started with OneTribe software today.

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