indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Indian housing act finally signed into law
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Filed Under: National | Politics

It took a lot of hard work but a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act was finally signed into law on Tuesday.

Prospects seemed shaky earlier this year when an unrelated controversy threatened to derail H.R.2786. A compromise on the issue led to passage of the bill in the final days of the 110th Congress.

The update now gives tribes more flexibility to address housing issues throughout Indian Country. Tribal advocates said the bill gives real meaning to the words "self-determination" in NAHASDA, which was originally enacted in 1996.

"Dilapidated houses and over-crowded living conditions lead to weak school performance, poor heath, and contribute to a hopelessness that few Americans witness as part of their daily lives. By reauthorizing NAHASDA, Congress has demonstrated incredible dedication to improve the dire housing conditions that too many Native Americans face," said Marty Shuravloff, the chairman of the National American Indian Housing Council.

According to NAIHC, 14.7 percent of homes on reservations and in Alaska Native villages suffer from overcrowding, compared to 5.7 percent nationally. Nearly 12 percent of reservation and village homes lack complete plumbing, 14 percent lack electricity and 11 percent lack kitchen facilities, rates far higher than the national average.

"This bill is more than just a housing act -- it will give tribes more authority over their own land and truly help build stronger communities in Indian Country," said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

"Given the great need for improvements in housing stocks for Alaska Natives and Indian tribes nationwide, these changes offer the hope of substantially increasing the availability of quality housing to Native people in the near future," added Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the committee's vice chair.

The bill, which extends NAHASDA through 2013, marks one of the few substantive achievements for Indian Country in the 110th Congress. A number of tribal-specific bills made it through but the big ticket items -- most notably the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act -- failed to pass.

Some of the inaction can be traced to a controversy involving the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and its removal of the Freedmen, who are the descendants of former slaves, from tribal rolls. NAIHC earlier this year warned that a failure to resolve the issue could hurt NAHASDA.

But tribal advocates also noted it would be hard to get any major legislation through Congress due to the presidential election. As other issues like the national economic crisis dominated the agenda in the last few weeks, there was a big push to ensure NAHASDA made the cut.

"NAIHC is grateful for the outpouring of support from a broad coalition of tribal leaders nationally and the many tribal housing partners that helped in the final push to get this bill passed before the end of the 110th Congress," said Paul Lumley, the group's executive director. "We couldn't have accomplished this without their support."

Beyond extending the Indian Housing Block Grant program and the Title VI Loan Guarantee Program, the reauthorization makes significant changes so tribes are better able to use federal housing dollars as they see fit. A new subtitle called "Self-Determined Housing Activities for Tribal Communities" recognizes the need for flexibility.

"Tribes need adequate flexibility and autonomy to use Indian Housing Block Grant dollars effectively, efficiently and in a manner that makes the most sense for tribal members' specific needs," said Rep. Steve Pearce (R-New Mexico), who introduced the subtitle.

Another amendment seeks to improve data collection at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tribes want more accurate figures to show they are using funds appropriated by Congress wisely.

The bill also seeks to resolve an issue that prompted HUD to withhold $300 million in funds to tribes after a Montana tribe's housing authority won a court case in 2006. The amendment changes the formula at issue in the case but allows tribes to file new lawsuits within 45 days of NAHASDA's enactment into law.

NAHASDA Reauthorization Documents:
Press Release | Text of H.R.2786 | Overview | Section-By-Section Analysis

Related Stories:
Broken promise on Indian health care bill (10/15)
NAHASDA clears Congress with Freedmen provision (09/26)
Cherokee Freedmen dispute a threat to NAHASDA (4/24)
Freedmen issue weighs heavy on Capitol Hill (4/14)
House approves NAHASDA reauthorization (9/7)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sees strong support at pipeline hearing (8/24)
Judge takes aim at Ute Tribe after being kicked off sovereignty suit (8/24)
Lakota Country Times: County seeks compensation for trust lands (8/24)
Native Sun News: Sage remains a special plant for Native peoples (8/24)
Jim Kent: Republicans in South Dakota whine about Black Elk Peak (8/24)
Matthew Fletcher: The Supreme Court and Indian Child Welfare Act (8/24)
Kayla DeVault: Navajo Nation must take a stand on Dakota Access (8/24)
Meskwaki author Ray Young Bear wins award for poetry collection (8/24)
Puyallup Tribe acquires golf course within reservation boundaries (8/24)
Pauma Band might finally see $33.6M payment from gaming case (8/24)
Oneida Nation sends even more gaming revenues to communities (8/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe seeks prayers ahead of pipeline hearing (8/23)
Second run scheduled to raise awareness of Gold King Mine disaster (8/23)
U.S. Sentencing Commission continues work of tribal advisory group (8/23)
Chemehuevi Tribe wins decision barring county from citing members (8/23)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe joins fight against pipeline (8/23)
Native Sun News: Mario Gonzales moves from ball court to law court (8/23)
Brandon Ecoffey: The Horse Nations prepare for battle over pipeline (8/23)
Steven Newcomb: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe challenges domination (8/23)
Simon Moya-Smith: Hillary Clinton remains silent amid pipeline feud (8/23)
Sheriff mistook sacred pipes for pipe bombs at pipeline protest site (8/23)
Charles Carlyle: Issues to consider when doing business with tribes (8/23)
Choctaw Nation starts work on expansion of casino by Texas border (8/23)
Judge rules against Miccosukee citizen in gaming per capita dispute (8/23)
Seneca Nation stopped paying $17M a year for casino police service (8/23)
First Nations ratify agreement for seventh casino in Saskatchewan (8/23)
Tribes prepare for critical hearing in Dakota Access Pipeline lawsuit (8/22)
Hillary Clinton lands more tribal leader endorsements in New Mexico (8/22)
Donald Trump picks Navajo man for agriculture advisory committee (8/22)
Laguna Pueblo signs deal to acquire commercial casino in Louisiana (8/22)
Mark Trahant: Pipeline fight highlights power of political organizing (8/22)
Lakota Country Times: Tribes unite to stop Dakota Access Pipeline (8/22)
Native Sun News: Black Elk Peak honors sanctity of Black Hills site (8/22)
Vi Waln: Our water system is being threatened by energy pipelines (8/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.