Transitioning Native Families From Renters to Homeowners
The Lakota Funds Incorporated, a Native CDFI serving the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, received a $50,000 Section 4 grant to convert its Eagle Nest Low Income Housing Tax Credit rental homes into homeownership properties for tribal members.
This capacity building grant was critical for Lakota Funds to develop the experience in understanding the home mortgage process and what is involved in getting tenants ready for homeownership.
Lakota Funds serves tribal members on the Pine Ridge Reservation and up to 50 miles from reservation boundaries. Much of its work focuses on business development lending. They also promote a broad vision of community development, including asset-building and homeownership efforts.
Lakota Funds developed one of the first Native Individual Development Account (IDA) programs in Indian Country as well as one of the first Child Savings Account (CSA) programs.
Promoting Economic Sustainability on the Reservation
Serving tribes for over 30 years, Lakota Funds’ mission is to promote economic sustainability on the Pine Ridge Reservation and geographic service area through business loans, technical assistance and training and wealth building education and programming for housing.
The Lakota Funds staff is certified in Homebuyer Education and Post Purchase training. As a leader of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition (SDNHC), they are using their training and certifications to promote Native homeownership in South Dakota.
Members of the coalition have an opportunity to share successful homeownership models and learn from one another about homeownership development, which can become a model for other efforts around South Dakota.
From Renter to Homeowner: A Tribal Member’s Story
The Eagle Nest Low-Income Housing Tax Credit rental homes have transitioned into homeownership properties, allowing more tribal members to become homeowners. Lakota Funds provided financial literacy training and financial counseling to members at the 30- apartment Eagles Nest Housing community to help them understand the mortgage loan application process. The first sale in Eagle Nest closed in late 2017, selling eight homes.
As a result of capacity building and financial literacy programs, tribal member Carrie Sitting Up is using her homeownership experience as a pathway to economic prosperity and community development for other members on the Pine Ridge reservation, empowering her to become the first in her family to own a home.
In a community with a scarcity of housing stock and homeownership rates markedly below state and national averages, the opportunity for families to purchase their homes is significant, and an important part of the important message that Native homeownership is possible.