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More than 650 people from throughout the United States have registered to attend the 50th Annual Convention and Tradeshow, hosted by the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. this week. The convention’s theme is “50 Years of Building Futures.”

“When we look back at 50 years of housing in Indian Country, we’ve made great strides and want to continue that momentum. But our communities have growing needs and Indian housing has always been underfunded,” NAIHC Executive Director Douglas Marconi said. “I’m pleased to see the turnout of tribes in attendance unified in calling on Congress to reauthorize NAHASDA and increase funding for Native homes.

Called “the backbone of Indian housing,” Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) grants provide affordable housing that benefit low-income families living on Indian reservations and Alaska Native communities. Reauthorization of the law has been delayed since 2013, but Republicans propose to slash funding by 10% in FY 2025 for programs covered under the Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD). 

The subcommittee will review the FY25 THUD bill on June 27, with a full committee review scheduled for July 10, 2024. Leaders from Tribal nations are pushing back on cuts, calling for increased funding.

On Tuesday, June 25, attendees will hear from Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Tlingit & Haida President Richard Petersen, and Bob Gauthier, former director of Salish Kootenai Housing Authority. All three are strong proponents of the NAHASDA reauthorization.

"This is a historic moment for Cherokee Nation and its 468,619 citizens as we focus on infrastructure development, tackling crucial areas such as health care, childcare, language preservation, and foremost, ensuring safe, affordable housing in a market plagued by significant shortages," Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.  "Currently, we have 250 homes under construction or in progress for Cherokee elders, speakers, and families. But we know there is so much more to do. Congress needs to do its part by reauthorizing NAHASDA and providing tribes with the tools and resources to provide quality and affordable housing to every one of their citizens.”

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Tlingit and Haida President Richard Petersen, representing 37,000 citizens, will speak to the challenges of construction costs, transportation and building in Alaska’s extreme distances and weather conditions.

In the absence of NAHASDA reauthorization, NAIHC works to secure funding for Native housing programs through yearly appropriations. The President’s FY 2025 Budget Request proposes $1.05 billion for tribal housing, a 21% reduction from FY 2024, primarily affecting the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) with a proposed $290 million cut. The budget maintains current funding levels for most accounts, except for a minor increase for Section 184, and does not include new funds for HUD-VASH. FY 2024 appropriations raising IHBG funding to $1.11 billion (1.9% of HUD’s budget).

NAIHC is pushing for $1.8 billion in the FY 2025 THUD appropriations, but no less than $1.152 billion, which would restore the IHBG’s original purchasing power from 1996 and matching inflation. They also recommend an $8 million appropriation for Tribal HUD-VASH, up $500 million from FY24. Throughout spring and summer 2024, the House and Senate appropriations committees will hold budget hearings and receive feedback. The FY 2025 appropriations must be passed by September 30, 2024. NAIHC will continue advocating for increased tribal housing appropriations.

To register and see the agenda, please visit NAIHC’s official event page.

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