Just days ago, HUD issued a $56 million dollar funding award to 76 different tribal communities in the US. This grant will help them improve the conditions of their housing communities, while promoting development. This was done in the hope of improving their local economies by providing jobs through real estate construction projects. The program being awarded the grant is called the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program. It’s purpose is to help develop more affordable housing that will be established for low-income to moderate-income families within the communities.
According the Shaun Donovan, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, a large amount of time, effort and creativity has gone into the way these communities invest their public funds. They have been using their grants to create and maintain long-lasting housing solutions that provide for the needs of a countless amount of local families. Donovan says that he’s quite impressed with their efforts.
HUD Grants Intended Uses
The plan is for the receivers to use the grants for developing communities that will help bring life to the tribal areas as a whole. It will allow them to rehabilitate homes that are need of refurbishing and repairs, as well as build new property on land they already posses. It will also give them the cash flow needed to purchase more undeveloped land in order to support the construction of new houses. The funds aren’t intended just for building homes, but complete communities that are fully functional.
Construction will include creating quality roads, water systems and sewage facilities. Projects will include commercial and industrial property developments, as well as viable agricultural projects. This will help to stimulate the growth of the local economic system, as well as creating local jobs for community members. There will be community centers and health care facilities for long-term resources. It will also help to promote the growth of local businesses by funding the construction of local shopping centers, convenience and grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, even manufacturing plants. Some specific examples of how the grants will improve the communities include the following:
- Caddo Nation, Oklahoma – Will receive a grant of $800,000 for building a community facility that will be used for elderly residents considered to be low income.
- Ho-Chunk Nation, Wisconsin – Their $600,000 grant will be devoted to the installation of solar photovoltaic panels that will be installed on low-income level homes. The single-family homes and rented apartment units will benefit from the decrease in energy usage, lowering their energy costs by about 24 percent. It will also help these homes to become green homes as they decrease emissions due to these new energy efficient measures.
- Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Alaska – This community’s $600,000 grant will be used in helping them build a seriously needed group home. It will provide housing for the large amount of native Alaskan homeless youth near the areas surrounding the Bartlett High School, as well as the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Providing these youths with a stable home environment will also help to increase their academic growth and stability.
- Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, California – They will receive a $604,998 grant. It will be used for upgrading the existing infrastructures located on the reservation. The grant will also allow the community to replace sections of their old, outdated sewer lines, some of which date all the way back to the 1950s.
- Seminole Nation, Oklahoma – It’s awarded $800,000 grant is intended for building a community health and wellness center. This center will serve a multitude of residents and purposes.
- Sac and Fox Tribe, Iowa – A $600,000 grant is being awarded to this community so they can build the Meskwaki Travel Center. It is set to include gas stations for cars and trucks, a truck stop, a washing and mechanics bay for diesel trucks, a convenience store, a sandwich store and a local bank branch. This project alone will help the community create eight new long-term job positions, while allowing them to retain 28 current help positions.
- ICDBG Program – This program has been around since 1977. It’s purpose is to help Indian tribal communities, as well as native Alaskan villages. It helps them meet their current and future community development needs. The organizations that compete for funding from this program include: recognized groups, bands, tribes and eligible nations.
HUD’s Home Investment Partnerships Program
The Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program is dedicated to providing grants to various US states and local communities. These grants are often provided with the help of local non-profit groups that partnership with HUD to provide funding for a wide variety of housing activities. Some of these include building, buying and sometimes rehabilitating affordable housing properties. These properties are used as rentals or sold to new homeowners who fall in the economic category of low-income families.