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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA): Background and Funding

Katie Jones
Analyst in Housing Policy

Native Americans living in tribal areas experience some of the poorest housing conditions in the United States. Native Americans in tribal areas are several times more likely to live in housing that is physically substandard or overcrowded than the U.S. population as a whole. They are also more likely to live in poverty than the general population, further contributing to housing problems. In addition, a number of issues, such as the legal status of tribal land, pose unique barriers to housing for many people living in tribal areas.

In light of these poor housing conditions, and the federal government’s trust responsibility to Native American tribes, Congress has provided funding for Native American housing programs for several decades. The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) reorganized the previous system of housing assistance for Native Americans and replaced it with a single block grant program, the Native American Housing Block Grant (NAHBG).

Through the NAHBG, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) distributes formula funding to Native American tribes and Alaska Native Villages, or to organizations the tribes have designated to administer the funding (known as tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs)). Tribes and TDHEs, in turn, use the funding for a range of affordable housing activities to benefit low-income tribal households. These activities include developing new housing for rental or homeownership, maintaining or operating existing housing units, providing infrastructure, and offering housing-related services.

In addition to the NAHBG, NAHASDA also authorizes a loan guarantee program to help tribes obtain private financing for housing activities (the Title VI Loan Guarantee program) and authorizes funding for training and technical assistance. An amendment to NAHASDA in 2000 established the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) program to provide housing assistance for Native Hawaiians similar to the assistance provided under the NAHBG.

The authorization for NAHASDA programs, other than the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant, expired at the end of FY2013. (The Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program has not been reauthorized since its initial authorization expired at the end of FY2005, although Congress has continued to appropriate funding for the program.) A bill (S. 1352) has been introduced in the Senate to reauthorize NAHASDA programs through FY2018.

Date of Report: November 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 43
Order Number: R43307
Price: $29.95

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