Micmac, Maliseet, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Tribes Awarded Housing Grants
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing about $4 million to four American Indian tribes in Maine.
HUD Secretary Julian Castro says the tribes will use the funding "to build new homes or to solve their most pressing housing issues." .
In Maine, the Passamaquoddy tribe is receiving nearly $987,000 for its Indian Township reservation and $845,000 for its reservation at Pleasant Point.
IHBG funds benefit low-income families living on Indian reservations or in other American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The amount of each grant is based on a formula that considers local needs and housing units under management by the tribe or designated entity.
The video below, produced in 2013, explains some housing issues at Penobscot Indian Nation. The Penobscot Indian Nation Housing Authority (PINHA) built 12 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rated single‐family homes.
The project helped bring young, low‐income families back to the community, reuniting them with a strong cultural and traditional heritage embodied by a nature path, native plants, a forest, a boardwalk to the village, sweat lodges, and ceremonial multiuse space.
It's part of a master plan for the island the new Federal funding may be able to facilitate.
Secretary Castro said “Every family, every community in America, deserves the chance to flourish. Our partnerships with tribal communities and leaders are critical today to help ensure better housing, neighborhoods and economic opportunities for tomorrow.”
Eligible activities for the funds include housing development, assistance to housing developed under the Indian Housing Program of the 1937 Housing Act, housing services to eligible families and individuals, housing management services, crime prevention and safety, and model activities that provide creative approaches to solving affordable housing problems.
The block grant approach to housing was enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA).
“The Indian Housing Block Grant program is the single, largest source of affordable housing assistance in Native American communities,” said HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez. “Over the life of the program, recipients have been able to build or acquire almost 37,000 affordable homes and have rehabilitated more than 77,000 housing units.”
HUD’s proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget seeks $700 million for Native American Housing Block Grants, $50 million above the 2016 enacted level, to address severe overcrowding and substandard housing conditions in Indian Country.
An additional $20 million in Indian Community Development Block Grant funding is being requested for projects to improve outcomes for Native youth, such as the construction or renovation of community centers, health clinics, transitional housing, pre-school/Head Start facilities and teacher housing.
And up to $5 million in Jobs-Plus funding will be used to implement a demonstration of the program in Indian Country to boost employment and earnings.