July 26, 2018

Opening the Doors to Homeownership on Tribal Lands

Homeownership on Tribal lands

Buying a home can be complex in any situation. It’s even more difficult on Native American trust lands. But because of the importance home has for a family – including its effect on health, education, and economic well-being – making the purchase process easier can be a crucial step towards improving lives.

Over the next year, Enterprise will be improving access to tribal homeownership through new tools and resources. At the heart of this support is a new guide – Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership – and a series of trainings across the country with tribal communities to improve housing conditions and provide the benefits that follow.

#2 russ - terri - Kelly noonan Marrocco.jpgRuss Kaney, Program Director at Enterprise, and Terri Ludwig, CEO at Enterprise, join Kelly Noonan Marrocco, Manager for Affordable Lending and Access to Credit at Freddie Mac, at a July 10 event in Minneapolis in which the effort was announced.

Homeownership can be one part of the solution, but right now it’s hard to do. Remoteness, lack of infrastructure and legal constraints related to land ownership exacerbate housing issues. While ownership is not the path for everyone, it can help address housing challenges and build families’ economic stability.The need for this work is clear. There is a critical shortage of well-designed, affordable homes for Native Americans on pueblos and reservations. The National Congress of American Indians notes that 40 percent of on-reservation housing is substandard – the national figure is 6 percent – and nearly one-third of homes on reservations are overcrowded.

Enterprise will work with partners to provide information that helps tribal leadership navigate the trust land leasing and lending process. Tribal Housing Authorities will be particularly important because of their critical role in supporting members through the process of buying a home.

Over the next two years, thanks to generous support from Freddie Mac and the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, Enterprise will:

  • Develop and implement a Native American Learning Communities curriculum
  • Form and facilitate learning communities that offer opportunities to engage and learn with peers in developing their homeownership programs
  • Provide training and technical assistance to Tribal Housing Authorities and tribally-designated housing entities though group sessions, webinars, and direct support
  • Monitor and share updates on federal policy as it relates to providing access to loans for Native American populations, including Tribal trust land

This curriculum and technical assistance model is built on Enterprise’s experience building the capacity of nonprofit housing organizations to access financial resources and develop affordable housing.

#1 Connie Wright - Terri NEW.jpgConnie Wright, VP, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation with Enterprise CEO Terri Ludwig at a July 10 event in Minneapolis in which the effort was announced.

Over the years, Enterprise has brought technical expertise and substantial resources – both human and financial – to Tribal communities. Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, which increases the environmental efficiency of homes, making them healthier, more cost-effective to operate and better for the environment, has shaped the design of reservation homes. We have placed Rose Architectural Fellows at four tribal organizations: previously at Ohkay Owingeh, Santo Domingo and Red Feather, and Kaziah Haviland Montgomery is currently finishing her final year at Thunder Valley on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Over the past two decades, Enterprise has invested more than $100 million in affordable rental housing for tribal members across the country, including the first permanent supportive housing development ever created on a reservation, Dream Catcher Homes on the White Earth reservation.

The first training will take place on October 11-13 as part of a two-day conference in New Mexico. (Details to come.) Tribal organizations interested in training or technical assistance should contact me at rkaney@enterprisecommunity.com or visit our Rural and Native American housing web page for more information.

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