HUD Secretary Castro to NCAI: We Must Do More to Ensure the First Americans are not the Last Americans

HUD Secretary Castro addressed NCAI Monday afternoon. Native News Online photos by Levi Rickert

HUD Secretary Castro addressed NCAI Monday afternoon. Native News Online photos by Levi Rickert

Published October 19, 2015

SAN DIEGO — Borrowing from Chief Joseph and the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro addressed the 72nd Annual Convention of the National Congress of American Indians on Monday, October 19, 2015.

Castro was the highest ranking Obama administration to address NCAI, the oldest and largest American Indian organization in Indian Country.

Castro recounted his trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation last year where he witnessed 17 people living in a two-bedroom home. Half of whom were children living among crumbling bricks and tangled electrical wires.

“Going the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was the single-most poignant moment since I became secretary of HUD,” Secretary Castro told Native News Online after addressing the NCAI general assembly. He said he left the reservation knowing he had to work harder to improve lives of American Indians.

“We must do more to ensure the ‘first Americans are not the last Americans,’ Castro told the convention attendees. “Our work does not end at the front door, but we need to revitalize the whole community.”

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Castro announced HUD has established a pilot program for homeless American Indian veterans who will be provided with vouchers to get them off the streets. He also announced HUD is working on a data project that will be provided to tribes next summer so tribes will have better stastistics available to them when needed for grant writing.

The 41 year-old HUD secretary is a rising star in the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton on Friday hinted she is considering him as a possible running mate as she pursues the presidency

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