HUD APPROVES SPOKANE TRIBE INDIAN AREA EXPANSION
Action increases homeownership opportunities for Native Americans in three counties
SPOKANE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today approved the Spokane Tribe's request to expand its "Indian area" to include all of Spokane, Stevens, and Lincoln counties. This approval allows all members of federally recognized tribes wider use of a HUD guaranteed home loan program that will help Native Americans in northeastern Washington become homeowners.
"The Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program has already helped thousands of Indian families across the nation purchase or rehabilitate their existing homes," said HUD Spokane Field Office Director Arlene Patton. "This expansion is not limited to members of the Spokane tribe. It will enable any Native American who is a member of a federally recognized tribe to use this loan program to purchase a home anywhere in Spokane, Lincoln, or Stevens counties. Use of the 184 loan program will no longer be restricted to reservation or trust lands."
The Spokane tribe is joining a growing number of tribes across the country using HUD's recent expansion of the Section 184 Guaranteed Loan program to increase the number of Native American homeowners outside reservation boundaries. Tribal housing agencies can now designate wider regions as an "Indian area" - meaning tribes can go beyond their reservation borders to assist tribal members and members of other federally recognized tribes obtain loans through the Section 184 program. Allowing the expansion of tribal Indian areas provides greater opportunity for banks and other lenders to make mortgage loans to Native Americans.
According to the 2000 Census, nearly 8,300 Native Americans live in Spokane, Stevens, and Lincoln Counties. Currently the Section 184 program can be used throughout all counties in Western Washington, except Wahkiakum, and throughout Yakima County.
The Section 184 program has several advantages over HUD's FHA program - a lower downpayment requirement and higher loan limits (150 percent of the FHA limit for the area) - which make the loan program very attractive. Loans are not limited to low income borrowers. Because the mortgage is 100 percent guaranteed by HUD, lenders apply more flexible underwriting criteria. Private sector lenders can make mortgage loans to eligible Native American families, tribes, and tribal housing entities. The program can also be used to rehabilitate existing homes, build new homes, and refinance higher interest rate loans.
The Section 184 program has increased volume by 240 percent from 2003 to 2004; from 271 loans and $27.2 million to $64 million and 622 loans. HUD anticipates insuring more than $100 million in volume in fiscal year 2005 and $200 million in fiscal year 2006.
HUD's Section 184 Loan Guarantee program, created in 1992, was established to address the lack of mortgage lending for Native Americans and give Native American families the opportunity to purchase their own homes. Since 1995, when HUD guaranteed its first loan, there have been 2,215 loans guaranteed with a dollar-value of approximately $220 million.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.