CN receives $29M housing grant
By TESINA JACKSON Reporter TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On Feb. 8, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $404 million in Indian Housing Block Grant allocations to nearly 300 tribes in 27 states, with the Cherokee Nation receiving approximately $29.5 million. These HUD funds are distributed annually based on a formula to eligible Indian tribes or their respective tribally designated housing entities for a range of affordable housing activities. “(The) Administration will put together an Indian Housing Plan, which will be presented to the Tribal Council for approval,” CN Housing Services Executive Director David Southerland said. When the Tribal Council approves the IHP, it is sent to HUD for review. “Once HUD reviews the plan and accepts it, the Cherokee Nation can request that the funds be wired to the tribe,” he said. “The tribe will invest the funds while they are being spent.” Southerland said it isn’t known exactly where the received funds will be going until the IHP is finalized. However, funds will still be provided to several CN programs such as the Low-Income Apartment Program and the Rental Assistance Program. “The new administration wants to put as many dollars as possible in direct services to Cherokees,” he said. HUD funds are intended to primarily benefit low-income families living on Indian reservations or other communities. The amount of each grant is based on a formula that considers local needs and housing units under management by the tribe or designated entity. More than $250 million in IHBG funds are still to be allocated among Native American communities this year. “These funds are making a real difference in tribal communities each and every day,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Projects include affordable housing, infrastructure upgrade, community centers and safety programs that every community needs to thrive. These efforts are part of a broader commitment to ensure Native American communities can build their economies in response to their needs and as they see fit.” Eligible activities for the funds include housing development, assistance to housing developed under the Indian Housing Program, housing services to eligible families and individuals, crime prevention and safety and model activities that provide creative approaches to solving affordable housing problems. The block grant approach to housing was enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996.
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