DearColleague.us

Letter

Denny Heck

From the office of:

Denny Heck

From: The Honorable Denny Heck
Sent By: jennifer.cash@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/28/2014

Young; Waters; Moore; Grijalva; Huffman; Kilmer; Kirkpatrick ; Sheila Jackson Lee; McDermott

CLOSES TODAY: Friday, March 28

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in supporting robust funding for the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program by signing the below letter to the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

The IHBG program is the major source of affordable housing assistance in Indian Country. Despite widespread acknowledgement of the program’s successes, the need for affordable housing in Indian Country has actually increased since 1998 while funding has remained essentially flat. Additionally, as inflation continues to erode the value of the annual formula grants, recipients are having to spend more of their grants on the essential activities of operating and maintaining their current stock. That means less money will go toward developing new units, which are sorely needed.

About the program: IHBG is an annual formula grant that provides housing and housing related assistance to low-income American Indians and Alaska Natives who live on Indian reservations or in other traditional Indian areas. The actual IHBG grant recipients are eligible tribal entities or designated housing entities, which then deliver housing assistance to families in need.

Authorization: The IHBG program is authorized under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) and includes several other programs and activities that are in need of additional funding, including: Indian Community Development Block Grant, Sections 184 and 184A Guarantee Loan Program; Title VI Guarantee Loan Program; and NAHASDA’s Training and Technical Assistance Funding.

Please join me in support of this critically important program. If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Jennifer Cash atjennifer.cash@mail.house.gov or 6-4035.

Sincerely,

DENNY HECK

Member of Congress

March XX, 2014

The Honorable Tom Latham                                        The Honorable Ed Pastor
Chairman                                                                      Ranking Member
Transportation, Housing, and Urban                            Transportation, Housing, and Urban
Development                                                                Development
Appropriations Subcommittee                                     Appropriations Subcommittee
2358-A Rayburn House Office Building                     1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515                                              Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Latham and Ranking Member Pastor:

As you develop the Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, we are writing to express the need for robust funding of the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program.

Under this program, tribes can use IHBG funds to address their housing needs through a variety of activities including, construction, rehabilitation, modernization, rental assistance, lending programs, crime prevention, and a host of other strategies. In FY 2012 alone, the 369 tribal recipients of grants used that funding to build or acquire more than 1,450 affordable homes and rehabilitate 4,700 more. Since the inception of the program, recipients have built, acquired, or rehabilitated more than 110,000 homes.

In spite of the program’s success, the need for affordable housing in Indian Country remains high:

  • According to HUD’s IHBG formula data, between 2002-2012 the number of overcrowded households increased 14% and the number of households with severe housing costs increased 47%.[1]
  • 26.4% of American Indians and Alaska Natives live below the poverty level, compared to 13.8% of the national population.
  • 8.5% of occupied homes on American Indian reservations and on off-reservation trust land are overcrowded, compared to 3.4% of national households.
  • $16,645 is the average per capita income for American Indians/Alaska Natives versus $27,334 for the national population.
  • $36,779 is the median household income for American Indians/Alaska Natives versus $51,914 for the national population.

Despite the demonstrated need, appropriations have not kept pace with other housing programs or even inflation. Funding for IHBG has remained essentially flat since 2003. Additionally, tribes are increasingly forced to spend more of their grant funds on the essential activities of operating and maintaining their current housing stock. This means less money will go toward developing new units, which are critically needed.

This subcommittee has the responsibility to ensure access to housing, a fundamental human need. All housing programs deserve careful consideration and strong support. We ask that the committee also keep in mind the federal government’s trust obligation to promote the wellbeing of Native peoples. Ensuring proper funding of IHBG is a critical component towards meeting those obligations.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working with you on this important matter.

Sincerely,