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Native American Housing Resources

Some Facts on Indian Housing:

  • Housing Needs: An estimated 200,000 housing units are needed immediately in Indian country. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “A Quiet Crisis: Federal Funding and Unmet Needs in Indian Country,“ 2003)
  • Homeless: Approximately 90,000 Native families are homeless or under-housed. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Quiet Crisis,” 2003)
  • Overcrowding: In tribal areas, 14.7 percent of homes are overcrowded, compared to 5.7 percent of homes of the general U.S. population. (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Plumbing: On Native American lands, 11.7 percent of residents lack complete plumbing facilities, compared to 1.2 percent of the general U.S. population. (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Telephone Service: Compared to the 2.4 percent of the American population, 16.9 percent of Native Americans in tribal areas lack telephone service. (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Indian Housing Funding: Approximately $650 million a year has been appropriated towards Native housing over the last few years. Funds are distributed to 575 housing entities, amounting to an average of $1.1 million per tribe. Of that funding amount, about 40 percent, or ($440,000 per tribe) goes towards new housing construction. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Quiet Crisis,” 2003)
  • Cost of New Homes: The average cost of a new home on a reservation is $125,000. (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 2003)
  • Tribes: There are 562 federally-recognized tribes, of these, 229 are Alaska Native Villages. (Federal Register, 12-05-03; Vol. 68, No. 234)
  • Total Population: There are 2.5 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the United States (single race), accounting for 0.9 percent of the total population. There are 4.3 million people (mixed race), totaling 1.5 percent of the entire U.S. population. (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Location: A total of 34 percent of the Native population resides in rural areas, where many reservations are located. (Census Bureau, American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month, 2003)
  • Income: Native Americans have the second lowest median household income, $32,116, while whites have the highest at $46,305. (Census Bureau press release, 9-24-2002)
  • Poverty Rate: The poverty rate for Native Americans is approximately 26 percent—2.6 times higher than that for whites and more than twice the average for all Americans, at approximately 12 percent. (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Unemployment Rate: Compared to 5.8 percent of the general U.S. population, 13.6 percent of the workforce on reservation areas is unemployed. (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Employment Data: A total of 56.5 percent of the population of trust lands and reservations is in the workforce (16 years of age and older). (Census Bureau, 2000)
  • Tribes and Economic Development: The majority of tribes, a total of 361, are without gaming. (National Indian Gaming Association website, 2003)
  • Mortgages Made On Trust Lands: In 2002, 354 loans were made for Section 184, 760 loans for Section 248 and 153 loans for the Rural Housing Service Section 502 (Direct Loans). (General Accounting Office Report, “Native American Housing: VA Could Address Some Barriers to Participation in Direct Loan Program,” 2002)
  • Loan Foreclosure and Delinquency Rates: The foreclosure rate for Native Americans on Section 184 loans is .011 percent, while the delinquency rate is 7.7 percent. (HUD as of 4-21-2004)
New Federal Law Forbids Domestic Violence Discrimination in Public Housing (January 25, 2006) Landlords often react to domestic violence by evicting the victim of the violence. Survivors of domestic violence or stalking who live in public or subsidized housing gained important new protections from this kind of discrimination when the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA) became law on January 5, 2006. VAWA 2005 includes important new protections to ensure that victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking living in public housing or using federally-funded housing vouchers (Section 8 vouchers) do not lose their housing based on the criminal acts of violence against them.  New Housing Protections summary Know Your Rights H.R. 3402: Housing Protections

Public Law 109-136: Native American Housing Enhancement Act of 2005 gives tribes the ability to exercise Indian preference in USDA housing programs and reinstates tribal eligibility for HUD YouthBuild funds.

Tribal Housing Code Development Resources

HUD's Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) identified the need for a comprehensive Tribal Housing Code which included eviction and foreclosure procedures. The development and distribution of this code (which can be Downloaded in Word format) is intended to provide tribal governments with an Outline and an Illustrative Guide for drafting their specific tribal code requirements, and to greatly reduce the cost of designing individual housing codes. Please note that the Tribal Housing Code included here is a revised and updated 1999 version.

HUD's Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) identified the need for a comprehensive Tribal Legal Code Project which includes not only a comprehensive revised Tribal Housing Code, but also includes expanded tribal legal resource materials. Tribal governments need resource information concerning additional related tribal codes in order to facilitate housing and community development in Indian country. These additional related tribal codes might include zoning, land use and planning, building, commercial, corporations, environmental review, and probate codes. The following is an overview of the resources contained within this Tribal Legal Code Project:

The majority of hyperlinks on this page are linked to documents that can be found on Code Talk, the official site of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Native American Programs. Code Talk's primary focus is Indian Housing and issues related to housing and community development for Native Americans. Important ONAP links:

Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) ensures that safe, decent and affordable housing is available to Native American families, creates economic opportunities for Tribes and Indian housing residents, assists Tribes in the formulation of plans and strategies for community development, and assures fiscal integrity in the operation of the programs.

ONAP Headquarters and Area Offices

The Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) ensures safe, decent, and affordable housing, creates opportunities for residents' self-sufficiency and economic independence, and assures the fiscal integrity of all program participants.

The Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) allows Housing Authorities (HAs) to electronically submit information to HUD.

In 1992, Congress established the Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program. The program is designed to offer homeownership and housing rehabilitation opportunities for eligible Native American individuals or families, tribes, and Tribally Designated Entities (including Indian Housing Authorities) on their native lands. To learn more about the Section 184 program Visit Their Webpage, or download brochure in Adobe PDF.

The National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) is a national membership organization that promotes, supports, and upholds tribes and tribal housing agencies in their efforts to provide culturally-relevant, decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing for Native people in American Indian communities and Alaska Native villages. This site contains information on the council, Leadership Institute, Membership, Technical Assistance, About NAIHC, News, Research, Conferences and Fund Raising.

LEGI\X Company is an advocacy and lobbing group with up to date news on Native American Housing.

Census Briefs - Housing of American Indians on Reservations: 1990

Statistics on housing in Indian Country is available from the 1990 Census Report.


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