Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) - Success Stories 2008

San Felipe

In 2006, the San Felipe Pueblo Housing Authority and the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) partnered together on a Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) program to provide housing rehabilitation grants. The collaboration was part of an MFA initiative that targets Indian Country. Eight tribal members received loans for $23,500 each and grants of $6,000 each through the RHED funding. The San Felipe Housing Authority provided homebuyer education, loan underwriting, and construction management to the recipients. Then, in 2008, nine more homes became available for rehab. All 17 homes are now close to completion. Also, in 2008, San Felipe received an RHED sub-grant for a 18 additional home rehabilitations by using Indian Community Block Grants and Indian Housing Block Grant for leverage. Five of those homes have been completed, seven are in process, and the remaining homes have been identified and approved.

Wichita and Affiliated Tribes

In August 2008, the Wichita Housing Authority officially opened its Iscani Community Center in Anadarko, Oklahoma, funded, in part, with Indian Housing Block Grant funds. The WHA is the entity designated by the Wichita and Affiliated Indian Tribes to provide housing services to more than 1,400 low-income American Indians living in the area. The Community Center complements the new Iscani Subdivision, 25 single-family homes. This development was made possible by leveraging the Tribe's Indian Housing Block Grant to obtain a combination of funding sources. The Community Center will be used for a variety of activities, including the provision of family counseling, homebuyer education, financial literacy training, and credit counseling for housing applicants, residents, tribal members, and the community at large.

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

The Bradum Subdivision, dedicated in August 2008, has the first new homes that have been built on the Red Cliff reservation in decades. The 24 rental homes were built using the low-income housing tax credit program, and multiple sources of financing.


The Cheyenne-Arapaho Independent Living Center opened in April 2008, in Clinton, Oklahoma. The Cheyenne-Arapaho Housing Authority, which serves low-income Indian families, used Indian Housing [Image: Cheyenne-Arapaho]Block Grant program funds to design and build the 26-unit facility. It is accessible to persons with disabilities and includes a community living area. This project provides decent, affordable housing, and is an asset to the community as a whole.



Cheyenne-Arapaho Independent Living Center, Clinton, Oklahoma

Ho-Chunk Tribe

The Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency (HCHCDA) developed a housing project known as the Potch-Chee-Nunk Community in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. The community was financed [Imaage:Ho-Chunk Tribe]using Indian Housing Block Grant funds and Section 184 loans though the Chippewa Valley Bank. The project consists of four, modular three-bedroom, two-bath, single-family residences with attached one-car garages. The units average 2,000 square feet each, and are accessible to persons with disabilities. The units are being leased to Ho-Chunk families on a lease-to-own basis.

Ho-Chunk Housing in Wittenberg, Wisconsin

The houses were dedicated in May 2008. The HCHCDA serves a community with more than 3,000 low-income Indian families. Ho-Chunk Housing in Wittenberg, Wisconsin

Northern Cheyenne

In December 2007, the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Housing Authority in Montana acquired a $2.1 million loan from First Interstate Bank to recapture and renovate abandoned housing on the Reservation. The loan was guaranteed by HUD, using its Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee program, also known as the "Title VI" program. The project will rehabilitate 18 vacant properties, refinish 24 lots for resale to homeowners, and fund park improvements. The project will not only revive valuable assets, but will also assist in establishing a market for housing on trust land. In addition, the proceeds form the sales are expected to be enough to pay off the entire loan.

Standing Rock

In February 2008, the Standing Rock Housing Authority in North Dakota secured $3.6 million in financing from the Native American Bank, which was guaranteed by HUD's Title VI program. This loan will fund the completion of six Low Income Housing Credit projects. The total financing package for 153 affordable housing units exceeded $15.6 million, including more than $11.2 million in tax credits.

Ysleta del Sur

The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in Texas obtained $2.9 million in HUD-guaranteed financing for an affordable housing infrastructure project. The loan was combined with funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Pueblo's Indian Housing Block Grant. The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program will be used to provide affordable units and mortgage-based homeownership on this site.

Bishop Paiute

In August 2008, the Bishop Paiute Tribe in California received a $1.7 million loan from Canyon National Bank, which was guaranteed by HUD's Title VI program. These funds will be combined with the Tribe's Indian Housing Block Grant and funds from the Indian Health Service to create 16 affordable rental housing units.

Chickasaw Nation Dedicates New Housing Administration Building

In May 2008, the Chickasaw Nation dedicated its new Housing Administration and Tribal Development Building in Ada, Oklahoma.
[Imaage: Chickasaw ]
This is a beautiful facility with offices, conference rooms for homebuyer counseling, and common spaces for training programs. The construction of the new building was funded by a combination of HUD funds and tribal funds.
[Image: Deadication]
The dedication ceremony included remarks by the Chickasaw's Governor, Bill Anoatubby, and by Wayne Scribner, Administrator of the housing program. HUD congratulates the Tribe on the success of its IHBG program.

United Keetoowah Band Opens Jim Proctor Elder Community Center

In May 2008, the United Keetoowah Band dedicated its new Elder Community Center at the UKB Complex just south of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The new center was named in honor of the late Jim Proctor, former Council Representative for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.
[Image of Center]
The center will house the UKB Nutrition Program, which provides free meals to Native Americans 55 and older. The Nutrition Program also delivers Meals on Wheels and sponsors elders' activities. The Proctor Center was funded by HUD's Indian Community Development Block Grant.

Hopi Tribe

In March 2008, the Hopi Tribe of Arizona's new wastewater treatment plant became operational. It was funded by an Indian Community Development Block Grant awarded in 2003. As a result of the project, the Moenkopi Utility Authority became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in April 2008. The wastewater treatment plant will serve the Upper Village of Moenkopi and the Lower Village of Moenkopi as well as the complex economic development site known as the "Gateway to Hopi Land."

Ohkay Owingeh

Ohkay Owingeh, formerly known as the San Juan Pueblo in New Mexico, has shown outstanding innovation in obtaining sources of funding for housing. The tribe and its housing authority have leveraged Low Income Housing Tax Credits with Indian Housing Block Grant funding, Rural Housing and Economic Development funding, HOME funding, and other sources to develop the 40-unit Tsigo Bugeh Village. They have also pursued an extensive housing rehabilitation program using a combination of Indian Housing Block Grant funding and Indian Community Development Block Grant funding. Currently, they are pursuing New Market Tax Credits to develop additional housing that will support their economic stability.


Zuni Pueblo and the Zuni Housing Authority, located in western New Mexico, have developed an effective force account construction operation. Since the mid-1990s, the force account operation has rehabilitated hundreds of units on the Zuni Reservation, using mostly Indian Community Development Block Grant funds, and more recently, some Indian Housing Block Grant funding. They have renovated many culturally significant historic homes within the community, doing an outstanding job both in terms of quality of work and cost effectiveness. If this work had been done under contracts, the per-unit cost would have been much higher and the work would probably not have been as thoughtfully executed in terms of maintaining the cultural fabric of the community. The force account crew has also rehabilitated many HUD-financed houses that were decades old and in need of modernization. Recently the force account crew has added new construction to its capacity with the development of the Blue Bird subdivision on the Zuni Pueblo.

Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation has used funds from the Indian Community Development Block Grant program since the 1970s to meet basic infrastructure needs for water, sewer, and electricity in remote tribal communities. From the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, the tribe leveraged its Indian Community Development Block Grant funds with other sources to develop shopping centers on the Reservation. The community of Tohajiilee, New Mexico recently completed its 13,025-square-foot Canoncito Health Clinic. Funding was provided by USDA, HUD, and the State of New Mexico. The completed project provides health care and prevention services to the local population and has improved the standard of living through improved clinical services, increased staff (direct and preventative), and on-site physicians. The clinic building is owned by the community and leased to the Indian Health Service, which provides the health care services and equipment.

Burns Paiute Tribe is Pressure Testing and Sealing Homes

With equipment provided through a grant from the Bonneville Power Association, the Burns Paiute Tribe in Oregon is providing healthier, more energy efficient homes for their residents. The housing department will pressure test all 152 homes in its inventory for leaks. They are able to determine where unhealthy air (from crawl space, attic, garage, and basements) is entering a home. Spaces are sealed and the home is re-tested for unhealthy leaks. There are tests for carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels, as well as the number of air exchanges per hour in the homes. An infrared camera detects hot and cool spots. These strategies can greatly increase the homes' energy efficiency and comfort levels. The Burns Paiute Tribe also emphasizes education of its residents, encouraging them to keep homes clean and naturally ventilated, report plumbing leaks promptly, and eliminate unvented combustible appliances.

Loan Guarantee Program Success

In the Portland, Oregon metro area, there are about 38,000 Native American residents, but only 17 percent of those own their own home. However, recent expansions in HUD's Indian Housing Loan Guarantee program, also known as the "Section 184" program, have simplified the homeownership process.

Jackie Blackbird, a recently featured homeowner in the Oregonian, bought a new home with a Section 184 loan. Blackbird, a 27-year-old single woman working at Nike Headquarters, grew up on an Indian reservation in Montana and is the first in her family to purchase a home off the reservation. Her journey began in July 2006 at Portland's Native American Homeownership Fair. At this broad-based housing fair, there were about 30 venders - realtors, lenders, homeownership education organizations, city/county/federal agency representatives, bank representatives, information on how to improve personal credit, and even guidance for renters. It was here that Blackbird learned more about the homeownership process and the Section 184 Loan Guarantee program. Armed with this knowledge, Blackbird purchased a new 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condominium and moved into her new home in March 2008.

The Section 184 program services potential Native American homeowners and offers a single, fixed-rate, 30-year loan, low-down payment loans (1.25-2.25 percent versus the typical 20 percent down payment in a conventional loan), no private mortgage insurance required, waived underwriter fees, and reasonable interest rates, even for credit-challenged borrowers.

Grand Opening of Wittenberg Housing Project in Wisconsin

The Ho-Chunk Housing and Community Development Agency's Wittenberg Housing Project, the Potch-Chee-Nunk Community, held its grand opening in May 2008. The project was financed though Chippewa Valley Bank under the Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program. The project consists of four modular, single-family, 3-bedroom, 2-bath residences with attached 1-car garages. All units are about 2,000 square feet and are accessible to persons with disabilities. The units are being leased to Ho-Chunk families on a rent-to-own basis.

Oglala Lakota Home Coalition Housing Summit

During National Homeownership month, in June 2008, the Oglala Sioux tribe held its first reservation-wide housing summit to increase homeownership and promote safe, decent, affordable housing for tribal members. To make the summit more accessible to prospective home buyers and renters, this important event was held in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation at the Porcupine pow wow grounds. Participating organizations, such as the HUD Northern Plains Office of Native American Programs, set up tables and demonstrations to distribute information about programs and opportunities to summit participants. One of the demonstrations featured a solar panel and windmill to highlight new, alternative, and renewable energy resources available to tribal members. The demonstration sparked considerable interest among participants, and is an example of how Northern Plains tribes are exploring "green building" practices and energy efficiency in tribal communities.

Northern Plains Homeownership Fair

On April 24, 2008, the Fargo Field Office and the City of Fargo-Native American Commission co-hosted the first-ever Native American Homeownership Forum held in Fargo, North Dakota. Staff from the Office of Native American Programs, presented a Section 184 Lender Certification Training to attendees, including local elected officials, lenders, realtors, and potential minority homebuyers. Five new Section 184 lenders were approved as a direct result of this activity.

Housing for Natives in Fairbanks, Alaska

The Interior Regional Housing Authority (IRHA) used the Section 184 program to expand its housing program. The program financed acquisition of rental property in Fairbanks. The property is close to IRHA's operational center, which facilitates the maintenance and management of the units. Now IRHA is able to offer housing to tribal members who have relocated to the regional center for work or health care, regardless of their income. Low-income families can receive rental assistance and higher income families pay market rent. The rental income from the property is enough to repay the loan and generate a profit that helps support IRHA's affordable housing programs.

Guaranteed Housing Loans for Native Hawaiians

The Section 184A Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee program is a financing option available for Native Hawaiian families to construct, purchase, or rehabilitate homes located on Hawaiian home lands. ONAP's Office of Loan Guarantee provides mortgage lenders a 100 percent guarantee on 184A mortgage loans made to eligible borrowers. Mrs. Kimberley Zoller and her husband financed the purchase of their new home, in the Hawaiian home land community of Kapolei, using a 184A loan. Mrs. Zoller, a Native Hawaiian eligible to reside on Hawaiian home lands, is also a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. What made this 184A transaction extra special is that, as a tribal member, Mrs. Zoller received a down payment assistance grant from the Grand Ronde Tribal Housing Authority to supplement the matching funds she and her husband contributed to the home purchase. This is an excellent example of how resources may be leveraged and used for Native people to achieve their goal of homeownership.

Housing Block Grant for Native Hawaiians

The Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant provides affordable housing opportunities to low-income Native Hawaiian families eligible to reside on Hawaiian home lands. As a subrecipient of these block grant funds, Habitat for Humanity Maui is working in partnership with 12 native Hawaiian families to build their homes in the Hawaiian home land community of Waiehu Kou on the island of Maui, using the self-help method of construction. Block grant funds are being used to provide construction technical assistance to families and subsidies to purchase building materials. The 12 families were selected from more than 200 applicants after an extensive evaluation that included the family's ability to repay a no-interest loan, family need, and the willingness of the family to partner with Habitat for Humanity Maui. All 12 families participated in a 6-week homeownership class, which incorporated Hawaiian cultural values in learning about budgeting, credit counseling, and home maintenance. Each family must contribute at least 500 hours of sweat equity in building their home. With the homeowner's own labor and that of volunteers, as well as the collaborative efforts of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Habitat for Humanity Maui to leverage resources, these 2- and 3-bedroom homes are being constructed at a cost of $84,000 to $89,000 each, and the families will have a no-interest mortgage payment of about $400 per month. Compared to the Maui median single-family home price of $570,000, this project is providing a very affordable homeownership opportunity for these Native Hawaiian families.

Rural Housing and Economic Development Program
This program builds capacity and supports innovation for rural housing and economic development activities in rural areas. Funds are awarded competitively through a selection process conducted by HUD. Out of the 58 projects that were funded nationwide in the 2007 competition, almost 40 percent were managed by Indian or tribal organizations, including
  • Aleutian Housing Authority
  • Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing Authority
  • Chilkoot Indian Association
  • Big Pine Paiute Tribe
  • Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority
  • Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians "
  • Walking Shield, Inc.
  • Four Directions Development Corp.
  • Penobscot Indian Nation
  • Huron Potawatomi, Inc.
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • Crow Tribal Housing Authority
  • Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe
  • Ho-Chunk Community Development Corp.
  • Pueblo of Pojoaque
  • San Juan Pueblo Tribal Council
  • Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corp.
  • Four Bands Community Fund, Inc.
  • Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, Inc.
  • Skokomish Tribal Nation
  • Wind River Development Fund

Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Program
ROSS links public housing residents with supportive services, resident empowerment activities, and assistance in becoming economically self-sufficient. Tribes or tribal organizations that received a ROSS grant in the 2007 competition included:
  • Aleutian Housing Authority
  • Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority
  • Coeur d'Alene Tribal Housing Authority
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
  • White Mountain Apache Housing Authority
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe
  • Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority
  • The Lakota Fund