- By Chez Oxendine
- Real Estate
Seventy-four tribal communities will split more than $83.3 million in grants for housing and infrastructure projects supported by funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week issued grants that ranged from $350,000 to $3.4 million to tribal communities in 21 states. Many awards focused on alleviating housing shortages, paying for the construction of new homes or the renovation of existing buildings, according to a statement.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma, for example, received $3.4 million to renovate an apartment building, while the Maine-based Passamaquoddy Indian Township Tribal Government will use $671,000 to renovate 45 homes. Other tribes, such as Maine’s Penobscot Nation and the Alaskan Native Village of Savoonga, included tiny homes in their plans. The Alaska-based Native Village of St. Michael planned to use its more than $1 million grant to fund 26 such homes.
Other projects aimed to shore up infrastructure and community needs. The biggest such grant went to the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, who received $3.4 million to connect 30 homes to a water supply through infrastructure renovation, in addition to renovating “up to” 100 housing units, according to a HUD statement.
Tamaya Housing, a tribal corporation promoting home ownership among tribal members of New Mexico’s Santa Ana Pueblo, received nearly $850,000 to build new septic systems and improve access to roads, power and gas. Washington’s Snoqualmie Indian Tribe received $350,000 to purchase a new emergency medical services vehicle and supplies.
Meanwhile, California’s Ramona Band of Cahuilla will use its more than $1 million grant to build a solar microgrid for their community.
Improving responses to COVID-19 drove many of the funded projects as well. The Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing Authority in Wyoming plans to use $1 million to build two mobile medical units to provide health care and serve as a temporary shelter for families affected by COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation in Utah planned to use its $1 million grant to purchase two RVs for a similar purpose.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas planned to spend a little more than $1 million to provide rental assistance for families affected by the pandemic, while Minnesota’s Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will use its $1.72 million in funding to renovate a vacant building into an emergency food bank.
A list of the recipients and their planned projects/purchases can be found here.
The awards aim to increase access to “safe housing, a suitable living environment, and economic opportunities,” according to HUD.
“It is imperative that we continue providing Tribal communities with resources needed to protect the health and safety of their communities,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman in the same statement.
Tuesday’s announcement marked the third and largest such round of grants under HUD’s $280 million Indian Community Block Grant Program. The department awarded $74 million in November and $52 million in December, leaving $71 million left to be awarded going forward.
“With the funding HUD is awarding today, we remain diligent in continuing our mission to ensure that every person has the security of a healthy home and community,” Todman said in a statement. “HUD will continue to strengthen partnerships with Tribal communities to ensure that all communities receive equitable relief.”
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