More below the fold.Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) announced that he has joined Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Vice Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) in introducing a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2013. The bill was also cosponsored by Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Al Franken (D-MN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
In 1996, Congress first passed NAHASDA to help ensure that Tribes and their members are provided safe and affordable housing, and that housing programs meet the needs of Tribal members well into the future. NAHASDA helps address a critical need for housing assistance in Indian Country, where more than 28 percent of reservation households lack adequate plumbing and kitchen facilities, while nationally only 5.4 percent of households lack such infrastructure.
“Safe, well-built housing and infrastructure are the building blocks for strong, healthy communities, and this bill helps ensure Native American communities in New Mexico and throughout Indian Country have the resources to help fill this vital need,” said Udall, who is a member of the Indian Affairs Committee. “NAHASDA has a long history of bipartisan support. Its reauthorization will help drive smarter investments into Indian Country by eliminating red tape and promoting energy-efficient housing. I am proud to join my colleagues on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to introduce this bill, and I look forward to working with them to get it passed by the full Senate before the current authorization expires.” - Real Estate Rama, 7/26/13
Here's a little more info:
Here's how the NAHASDA (S.1352) improves the bill:Currently there are 90,000 reported Native American families homeless and a demand for 200,000 housing units. Despite the statistic from the 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report that Native Americans only made up a little less than 1% of the general population, the report also found that the ethnic group accounted for 8% of the country’s homeless population. A 2010 report from the General Accounting Office found that 46% of Native American households are overcrowded, in their limited reservation communities. - Loan Safe, 7/26/13
- Increasing usage of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits by developers and investors that target projects serving Indian communities.Senators Maria Cantwell (D. WA) and John Barrasso (R. WY) have also been helping with Udall's efforts to make sure the NAHASDA by September 30th, 2013:
- Elimination of duplicative requirements when multiple agencies are involved in a housing-related project by identifying the majority federal partner and using that agency’s standards.
- Allowing Tribes access to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH).
- Promoting clean energy and sustainable projects by raising the total development cost ceilings cited as barriers to building energy-efficient housing.
Glad to see Udall, Cantwell and Barrasso work together on this. By the way, have some more good new for the New Mexico Kossacks. Today, Senator Udall led the Senate Appropriations Committee in approving the fiscal year 2014 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill:“Housing conditions in Native American communities remain some of the most challenging in the nation. This Act is designed to assist those communities, where substandard housing is rampant and poverty is a serious issue,” Cantwell said. “The reauthorization of this Act is critically important to help ensure that Tribes continue to have access to the tools necessary to provide for the basic housing needs of their members. While more must be done, I am pleased to note that this is one of the most successfully implemented programs in Indian Country to date.”
“Our bill responds to a fundamental need on our nation’s Indian reservations: safe, adequate housing for low income Indian people. Without adequate housing, families can’t thrive and parents can’t provide a healthy environment for their children so they can do well in school and life. This problem takes a toll on entire reservation communities and we have to address it,” Barrasso said. “I look forward to working with the Chairwoman and other members of the Committee to move this bill forward in the Senate as soon as possible.”
In 2002, NAHASDA was reauthorized for five years, and was again reauthorized in 2008 for a five-year period which expires in September 2013. NAHASDA replaced funding under the 1937 Housing Act with Indian Housing Block Grants and provided Tribes with the choice of administering the block grant themselves or through their existing Indian Housing Authorities or their Tribally designated housing entities. - My High Plains, 7/26/13
By the way, received an e-mail from Udall today calling his supporters to continue to pressure Congress to take bold action on climate change:The bill funds a wide range of federal agencies and priorities, including an assurance that the U.S. Postal Service will continue delivering mail six days a week, according to a news release issued by Udall’s office.
Funding for several programs will directly benefit New Mexicans, including:
• Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): $114.5 million for Small Business Administration (SBA) grants to SBDCs. Grants are made by formula, and New Mexico will benefit directly.
• Microloan Program: $45 million. The bill includes $25 million in microlending and $20 million in grants for microlenders.
• High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA): $238.5 million.
• Tribal Business and Community Development: $17 million. The bill provides $15 million for Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and $2 million for SBA Native entrepreneur training programs. - Albuquerque Business First, 7/26/13
You can sign Udall's petition here:It's time Congress stepped up to the plate and took a big old swing at combating the effects of climate change.
New Mexico families know climate change is real. We see it in record high temperatures. We've seen it in record droughts across the west that have affected our state economy.
Climate change is one of the major threats of our time -- and it's time we all took action. The President has called on Congress to take bold action to address the effects of climate change -- and he needs to know we support him, too.
Join me, the President, and the 11,599 signers who've already added their names. Tell Congress to step up to combat the effects of climate change. Sign the petition today:
We need to take action now. Thank you for helping me build our grassroots strength.