One of the greatest challenges facing Tribal leaders today is the tremendous shortage of housing in Tribal communities across the country.  Even with the success of gaming and other tribally-owned businesses in the last 40 years, the unfortunate reality is that many Tribes still face some of the worst housing and living conditions in the United States.

Overcrowding, dilapidated conditions and a lack of resources to construct new housing have created an ongoing humanitarian crisis as birth rates among Native Americans continue to outpace all other groups. Current estimates reveal a current need for an additional 200,000 housing units in Indian Country. Statistics show that 15.9 percent of Tribal communities households are overcrowded, compared to 2.2 percent of the general population.

In order to assist Tribes and TDHEs in addressing their housing needs, Blue Stone offers a variety of services that address administrative and planning issues related to housing.

We recognize that one of the primary reasons for the Indian housing crisis has been the perpetual lack of Federal resources devoted to Indian Housing. The federal funding source for Indian housing, HUD’s Indian Housing Block Grant Program (IHBG), was first funded in 1998 at a level of $650 million, which has remained static for nearly two decades. In FY 2018, funding for housing was also $650 million. To put this into context had the Federal commitment to Indian Housing simply kept up with the inflation rate, the IHBG Program would have been funded at $993 million FY18. In other words, the IHBG annual formula allocation would be almost 50 percent higher than it is now.

While the Federal commitment to addressing the Indian housing crisis has been clearly inadequate, Tribal leaders like you have embraced a number of innovative housing solutions to address the enormous housing needs that face your community. Blue Stone Strategy Group has continued to refine our housing services to assist Tribes in sorting out the many complexities associated with addressing your housing needs while also providing meaningful housing development options. Our housing team is experienced exclusively in the Indian housing field with extensive Tribal and Federal experience in this critical area.  Examples of services that are provided include:

  • Planning for important upcoming funding opportunities. The 2018 Indian Housing Block Grant Program (ICDBG) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFA), scheduled to be published in September. This funding opportunity provides an important financial resource for housing related activities including housing rehabilitation, infrastructure costs and land acquisition.  A special $100 million Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) NOFA is scheduled to be published in early calendar year 2019. This competitive NOFA will provide Tribes and TDHES with an infusion of capital for new housing construction and rehabilitation.
  • Assessing the impact of the current opioid crisis from a housing perspective.  Are there housing options for your Tribal members after substance abuse treatment programs have been completed? Has your reservation explored a permanent supportive housing option?
  • Exploring the use of HUD’s Section 184 program to develop a multi-unit housing project. This program can be used to develop both homeownership and rental units.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the Tribe’s/TDHE’s existing housing programs. This will help to insure that the Tribe complies with the programmatic and regulatory requirements of the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA).
  • Reviewing existing housing-related policies to ensure adherence to Federal requirements but also to ensure that the policies exercise flexibility, where permitted, in addressing the needs of Tribal members.
  • Conducting a housing assessment to determine current housing needs in terms of housing types (i.e. single-family, multi-family, supportive), eligibility for assisted housing and location preferences.
  • Preparing a comprehensive funding matrix, outlining by housing type, the available governmental, nonprofit and private sector resources available to address the Nation’s housing needs.
  • Identify potential economic ventures (i.e. construction, energy) that are housing related that could be created by the Tribe/TDHE and supported by a major housing initiative.
  • Develop comprehensive credit repair programs to enhance each Tribal member’s ability to obtain private financing for housing thereby reducing the Tribe’s future outlays in the housing space.

Now is the time to explore various options to address your community’s housing needs!

Blue Stone Strategy Group is deeply committed to supporting Tribes in addressing the many housing issues that you face.  Please contact us at 949-476-8828 to schedule an appointment today.  Thank you for your continued leadership and commitment to serving your community.