Cherokees in 4 Ark. counties eligible for Section 184 home loans

07/21/2019 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizens living in four Arkansas counties now qualify to use the Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program after the tribe’s request to expand the program received federal approval.

According to a CN press release, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notified Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s office that the home mortgage program designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families is now available to qualifying residents of Benton, Crawford, Sebastian and Washington counties in Arkansas. The expansion was effective July 11, the release states.

The release also states Baker’s office worked with the Tribal Council and the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes to propose the Section 184 program expansion.

“I believe expansion of the Section 184 home loan program into these four Arkansas counties will be life-changing for many Cherokee families,” At-Large Tribal Councilor Wanda Hatfield stated in the release. “I appreciate the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for working with the Cherokee Nation to approve this expansion.”

According to the release, Hatfield and At-Large Tribal Councilor Mary Baker Shaw previously traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for expansion of the Section 184 program.

“We have many Cherokee citizens who are living in northwest Arkansas furthering their education by attending the University of Arkansas, or who are living there and commuting to work for the Cherokee Nation, our health facilities or our tribal businesses in Oklahoma,” Shaw stated in the release. “It’s fitting that they now have access to Section 184 home loans. This program has the potential to change their lives.”

Nearly 8,000 CN citizens live in the four Arkansas counties affected by the home loan program’s expansion, the release states.

“The expansion of the Section 184 loan guarantee program into Northwest Arkansas is an opportunity for all Native Americans to be able to achieve the American dream of homeownership,” Gary Cooper, Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation executive director, stated in the release. “More importantly, our Cherokee citizens living in these four counties have an opportunity that has not existed before. We have seen the impact of this program for our citizens across Oklahoma and a lot of the country, and now our citizens in these counties will have the same opportunities.”

With Section 184 financing, qualifying Native Americans can obtain loans for new construction, rehabilitation, refinancing or for the purchase of an existing home with low down payments and flexible underwriting, according to the release.

“The Section 184 program is synonymous with homeownership in tribal areas across the country,” R. Hunter Kurtz, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public and Indian Housing assistant secretary, stated in the release. “With this expansion of the program into Arkansas, we will be able to help more Cherokee families achieve their dreams of owning safe, decent, and affordable housing.”

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