Indian housing bill signed into law
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President Bush has signed into law a bill to reauthorize a federal housing program tailored to meet the housing needs of Indian Country.

Bush signed the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 2001 (S.1210) on Wednesday. It reauthorizes a 1996 federal American Indian housing program through 2006. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), a member of the Senate Indian Affair Committee, was one of 13 co-sponsors.

"I am very pleased this law has been renewed and fully expect New Mexico tribes to take advantage of it. The focus is on increasing the opportunities for American Indians to have adequate homes. With this law HUD will increase its effort to provide culturally-appropriate housing for the Indian people," Domenici said.

First created by Congress in 1996, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) removes Indian housing from the regulations of public housing, which fall under the guidelines of the 1937 Housing Act. The new law, introduced by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), will continue a housing program designed to provide federal block grant assistance for Indian tribes in a manner that recognizes the right of tribal self-governance.

Current law also gives tribes the opportunity to use different sources of financing to meet housing needs in their communities. Grant funding is distributed through a formula allocation based on need and other socio-economic factors. It is estimated that there is a need for at least $1.2 billion for housing throughout Indian Country.

The bill was one of the first Indian-related pieces of legislation to clear both chambers of Congress during the 107th session.

Relevant Links:
NAHASDA, US Dept of Housing and Urban Development -
National Indian Housing Council -

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