DearColleague.us

Letter

Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Jared Huffman
Sent By: scott.rasmussen@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/20/2015

CLOSING COB TODAY
Supported by: National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and National American Indian Housing Council
Dear colleague:
Please join us in supporting robust funding for the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program (Section 184) and the Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by signing the below letter to the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
While we face housing needs across the nation, the problem is particularly acute in Indian Country, where between 2002 and 2012 the number of overcrowded households increased 14% and the number of households with severe housing costs increased 47%. Overcrowding in housing, meaning more than one individual occupies each livable room, is significantly higher on American Indian reservations and trust lands than the national average. Among other negative impacts, overcrowding fosters an increase in domestic violence and poor performance in school. A decent, stable, and safe home is critical to family health and individual success.
Congress has rightly placed great value on housing, and the Section 184 and IHBG programs are the primary vehicle for making homeownership and affordable housing available to American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Scott Rasmussen at scott.rasmussen@mail.house.gov (Huffman) or Seth Dawson at seth.dawson@mail.house.gov (Heck).
Sincerely,
JARED HUFFMAN DENNY HECK
Member of Congress Member of Congress

March XX, 2015
Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price:
We are writing to thank you for your previous support for the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee program (Section 184) as well as the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and to urge the Subcommittee to allocate robust funding for these critical programs in the FY 2016 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill. These programs are the primary vehicle for encouraging homeownership and making decent housing available to American Indian and Alaska Native communities and extending the success, independence, and health benefits that come with healthy and sustainable housing.
While we face housing needs across the nation, the problem is particularly acute in Indian Country, where between 2002 and 2012 the number of overcrowded households increased 14% and the number of households with severe housing costs increased 47%. Overcrowding in housing, meaning more than one individual occupies each livable room, is significantly higher on American Indian reservations and trust lands than the national average. Among other negative impacts, overcrowding can foster an increase in domestic violence and poor performance in school. A decent, stable, and safe home is critical to family health and individual success.
The IHBG program enables tribes to provide housing that meet unique and diverse circumstances. These funds, which are often leveraged to make a greater impact, support a variety of activities including new construction, rehabilitation, modernization, weatherization and energy efficiency improvement, and crime prevention, among others. In FY 2015, it’s estimated that IHBG funds will be utilized to construct 1,874 new units and rehabilitate 3,921 units.
Additionally, American Indians living on reservations or off-reservation trust land face unique challenges in accessing mortgage capital. Because land held in trust for a tribe cannot be encumbered or alienated, private lenders have traditionally refrained from marketing loans to native communities. A 2007 independent report made this clear, stating, “Based on our discussions with tribes and lenders, most potential borrowers did not have access to mortgage lending before Section 184 became available.” Since it was authorized in 1992, the program has leverage relatively minimal federal investment to provide over 20,000 families with first time access to mortgage capital and homeownership. The program plays a key role in promoting sustainable and healthy communities.
Last year, the House acted to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act to ensure American Indian and Alaska Native communities can continue to meet local housing needs. We appreciate the Subcommittee’s support for these housing programs in the past and urge robust support for these programs in FY2016.
We look forward to working with you to ensure continued support for the Section 184 and IHBG programs. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,