PEARCE RE-INTRODUCES NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING BILL

Sep 28, 2017

Washington, D.C. (September 28, 2017) U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-NM) along with U.S. Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI), Don Young (R-AK), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Denny Heck (D-WA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H.R. 3864, the reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA), to increase access to safe and affordable housing for Native Americans across the nation.

“Prosperity and opportunity have eluded Native American families on tribal lands for too long. From increased access to quality housing, to lease-to-own programs aimed at providing rural tribes with the resources and flexibility to develop modern communities, NAHASDA assists tribes in meeting the unique housing challenges of each community with independence and self-choice. These reforms provide faster approval of projects, allowing tribes to focus on economic development and innovation rather than administrative processes. The bill also reduces inefficiencies within government spending, and ultimately aids some of the most vulnerable communities in our country with real opportunity to improve. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate who have worked with me in a truly bipartisan, bicameral effort to reduce the burden on tribes and expand opportunity in Native American housing. By working across the aisle and with tribal leaders nationwide, we are helping to lay the foundation for real, concrete reforms needed in tribal communities,” stated Rep. Pearce.

“As a former welfare recipient, I know firsthand the critical role safe and affordable housing plays in breaking the cycle of poverty. With Native Americans representing some of the poorest and most remote communities in the United States, it is vital that Tribal governments have the autonomy to provide affordable housing to their constituents. The bipartisan reintroduction of NAHASDA – done in consultation with Tribal stakeholders – not only affirms this irrefutable concept, but also underscores the imperative to expand economic opportunities for Native Americans while recognizing and appreciating their Tribal sovereignty,” stated Rep. Moore.

“NAHASDA is a fundamental component of upholding the federal trust responsibility to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The housing programs it supports have a proven track record of success, although tremendous needs still exist in Native communities across the country,” stated Rep. Young. “Today’s introduction reflects over six years of work with tribes and Native organizations to develop the best approach for reauthorizing NAHASDA and combating some of the worst housing conditions in the nation.  It’s about damn time that Indian country is able to benefit from these much needed and long overdue policy improvements, and I look forward to working with my fellow cosponsors to once again move this bill towards final passage.”

"This legislation marks an important step forward in addressing unsafe, overcrowded, substandard housing conditions across Indian Country," stated Rep. Nolan. "Moreover, our measure recognizes and respects the importance of tribal sovereignty by empowering tribes to take the lead in removing barriers to safe and affordable housing and fostering healthy families and communities."

“Reauthorizing NAHASDA is critical to fulfill our nation’s trust responsibility to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Safe, secure, and affordable housing is essential to the wellbeing of our country’s native people which leads to better health, education, and economic outcomes that strengthen native communities,” stated Rep. Gabbard. “In Hawaii, almost 30 percent of the homeless population is comprised of Native Hawaiians – a statistic that is far too high in the most prosperous country in the world. Reauthorizing NAHASDA provides needed financial support to native communities in Hawaii and across the country. We must continue to fight for the programs that will improve housing and wellness resources for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians communities throughout the country.”

“Congress must fulfill its responsibility to protect and improve the lives of all our Native populations, many of whom live in the poorest of conditions in this country.  The funding and reforms this bill provides will assist low-income Native individuals and families, including Native Hawaiians of my home state, Hawaii, construct and obtain adequate housing instrumental to an improved quality of life for this and future generations to come.  This legislation is the result of hard work by many, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the passage of this critical bill,” stated Rep. Hanabusa.

“Native tribes and communities work hard to ensure their members have access to housing, and it’s essential we do all we can to assist them in meeting their needs. Congress should uphold its commitments to Indian Country by reauthorizing NAHASDA. I’m proud to work alongside my colleagues who are focused on this issue that’s so important to Washington’s 29 tribal nations,” stated Rep. Heck.

“I’d like to thank Congressman Pearce for bringing this legislation forward. He is one of the strongest advocates in the House for decent housing opportunities for Native Americans. Once again, Congressman Pearce has authored legislation which is good for Native Americans and good for the U.S. taxpayer. I look forward to working with him to pass this bill,” stated Rep. Cole.

“Native communities face some of the worst housing conditions and greatest economic challenges in our nation. For more than 20 years, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act has helped address this problem by allowing tribal nations to take the lead in developing their own housing for low-income Indian families,” stated Rep. McCollum. “This bipartisan bill to reauthorize NAHASDA will help us to better fulfill our federal treaty responsibility to support safe and affordable housing development throughout Indian Country.”

In addition to the introduction today in the House, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced companion language in the Senate.

"NAHASDA has a long history of bipartisan support, and I am pleased we are making progress on bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reauthorize this critical law, which has been held up for too long,” stated Sen. Udall. “Safe, well-built housing is a fundamental necessity for building strong, healthy communities, and this legislation will help ensure Tribal communities have quality housing while also driving further investments into Indian Country. Given the housing crisis in all of Indian Country, we must do all we can to make sure NAHASDA is fully authorized for all Native communities. I look forward to working with Congressman Pearce and my House and Senate colleagues to see this bill passed and signed into law.”

In 1996, NAHASDA was first signed into law to make housing assistance directly available to tribes through the Indian Housing Block Grant program. The program works to increase and strengthen the relationship between Indian tribes and the federal government.

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