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A new grant fund could help close the funding gap for Native homeowners in several southwestern states. 

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas has introduced the Native American Housing Opportunity Fund, with $1 million available. The fund is available to federally recognized tribes or tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.

Eligible tribes and TDHEs can apply for grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000. These funds can be used for a variety of housing-related purposes, including down payments, closing costs, and rental assistance  for tribal members. The grant window opened June 3 and closes July 12. 

To apply for these grants, tribes and TDHEs must be sponsored by a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. The bank has published more information on the program on its website. 

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Mark Loya, the community and economic development product manager for the bank’s Community Investment Department, discussed the initiative with Tribal Business News

This conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity. 

How did this program come to be?

Over the past year, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas has been looking at increasing outreach in underserved communities. Since we have 30 federally recognized tribes within our district, we thought this would be a good place to start.

How was the program funded? 

The bank made a commitment through creating the fund as a voluntary program. 

What barriers are lowered by having this funding available?

There’s a lack of funding specifically for Native American communities when it comes to housing. These grants help shore up gaps in these communities when it comes to affordable housing or housing-related activities. 

When you say ‘housing-related activities,’ do you mean things like closing costs and down payments? 

Just like in any other community, nation-wide, whether you're a first-time homebuyer, or a household with limited income - closing costs can sometimes be a barrier, as can down payments. One of the eligible uses would be just that through the NAHO Fund. 

Do you plan to continue the program in the future? 

As you may have gathered, this is a brand new program. We're hopeful the full amount of $1,000,000 will be applied for and awarded. We will take a look after the rounds to see how the program was received, and we're hopeful we can offer it again. Right now, it's too early to say whether or not it's going to be available in the future. We'll certainly look at the reception of the program. 

Is reception the main factor in determining whether or not the program continues?

It's a combination of things - we want to see what type of impact that the program makes. There's a number of factors that will go into determining that.

About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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