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HUD No. 05-WA-14
Pamela Negri
(206) 220-5356
For Release
September 15, 2005


Action increases homeownership opportunities for Native Americans throughout central/eastern Washington

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 central/eastern Washington counties: Okanogan, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Grant, Adams, Whitman, Franklin, Garfield, Yakima, Benton, Walla Walla, Columbia, Asotin, and Klickitat. This follows the earlier approval on June 17, 2005 of the Spokane Indian area expansion into 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 central and eastern Washington become homeowners.

Previous to the expansions of the Spokane Tribe's Indian area, the Section 184 loan program was available throughout western Washington counties, with the exception of Wahkiakum, and in Yakima County.

"The Section 184 guaranteed loan 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 on fee simple land throughout Washington State with the exception of Wahkiakum County."

Mortgage financing on tribal trust lands is available only for those tribes that are participating 184 tribes. The following Washington tribes are not currently participating: Hoh, Jamestown S'Klallam, Quileute, Sauk Suiattle, Swinomish, and Upper Skagit.

The Spokane tribe is joining a growing number of tribes across the country using HUD's recent expansion of the Section 184 Loan Guarantee 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 2003 Census American Community Survey, approximately 160,000 Washington residents list their race as Native American or Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more races.

The Section 184 program has several advantages over HUD's FHA program – a lower downpayment requirement (1.25% to 2.25% based on loan amount) and higher loan limits (150% 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.

For more information on 184 loans, go to:
www.hud.gov/offices/pih/ih/homeownership/184/faq.cfm and

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.

From inception of the program in FY 1994 to date, the HUD Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Fund has guaranteed approximately 2,470 home mortgage loans worth over $254 million for Native American families living in Indian Country.

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 HIV/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.


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