Sending Office: Honorable Jared Huffman
Sent By:
Steven.Mion@mail.house.gov

Deadline: COB TODAY

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in writing to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee to support funding for essential American Indian, Native Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian housing programs.

While we face housing needs across the nation, the problem is particularly acute in Indian Country and Native Hawaiian communities. In Indian Country, between 2003 and 2015 the number of overcrowded households increased 21 percent and the number of households
with severe housing costs increased 55 percent. 16.8 percent of Native Hawaiians in the State of Hawaii live in poverty, making access to housing particularly challenging.

Congress has rightly placed great value on housing, and the Indian Housing Home Loan Guarantee Program, Indian Housing Block Grant, and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant are critical to making homeownership and affordable housing available to American
Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. Unfortunately, these programs have a history of receiving inadequate funding from Congress. Please join us in standing with Native communities by signing this important programmatic request.

If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Steven Mion (Huffman) at
Steven.Mion@mail.house.gov, Alex Ortiz (Young) at
Alex.Ortiz@mail.house.gov, or Elizabeth Songvilay (Hanabusa) at
Elizabeth.Songvilay@mail.house.gov.
The deadline to sign this letter is March 13, 2018.

 

Sincerely,

 

JARED HUFFMAN                                DON YOUNG

Member of Congress                                Member of Congress

 

 

COLLEEN HANABUSA                        DENNY HECK

Member of Congress                                Member of Congress

 —————————————————————————————–

The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart                            The Honorable David Price

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 Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price:

We are writing to strongly support programs under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) – the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee program (Section 184), the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), and the Native Hawaiian Housing
Block Grant (NHHBG). Specifically, we urge your Subcommittee to allocate to these programs $10 million, $700 million, and at least $2 million respectively in the FY 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.

While we face housing needs across the nation, the problem is particularly acute in Indian Country and in the Native Hawaiian community. These programs are the primary vehicle for American Indian and Alaska Native communities and are critical for Native
Hawaiian communities in encouraging homeownership and extending the success, independence, and health benefits that come with safe and sustainable housing. 

Increasing the IHBG funding level is critical. Though the program has a proven track record of empowering tribes, it has been flat funded since FY 2011 and was funded at less than or equal to its current level from FY 1998 through FY 2009. As a result, IHBG
funding has not kept pace with the rate of inflation, amounting to a non-cumulative shortfall of over $250 million for the program in FY 2018. Increasing IHBG funding to $700 million would be a step in the right direction for addressing this shortfall and
helping Native communities with their tremendous unmet housing needs.

In Indian Country, between 2003 and 2015 the number of overcrowded households increased 21 percent and the number of households with severe housing costs increased 55 percent. 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 enables tribes to provide housing that meets 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 2019, IHBG funds will be utilized to improve housing circumstances for thousands of families.

Additionally, American Indians and Alaska Natives living both on reservations and off-reservations 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. Since it was authorized in 1992, the Section 184 program has leveraged relatively minimal federal investment to provide well 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.

Finally, our continued support for NHHBG funding is vital as the latest U.S. Census numbers tell us that approximately 16.8 percent of Native Hawaiians in the State of Hawaii live in poverty. Since 2000, NHHBG funding has proved to be critical in helping
meet the housing needs of low-income Native Hawaiian families. In addition to providing affordable housing, NHHBG also supports property infrastructure needs, the construction of new homes, housing counseling services, and home rehabilitation. Providing at
least $2 million will continue to support opportunities that promote homeownership and responsible pathways to homeownership for eligible Native Hawaiian families.

In 2015, the House overwhelmingly acted to reauthorize NAHASDA to ensure Native communities have a greater ability to meet local housing needs. We appreciate the Subcommittee’s support for this effort and these essential housing programs.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

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