Affordable housing for American Indians is an issue on reservations throughout Indian country, and the Bishop Paiute Tribe recently addressed the issue by making history.
Together with Travois, a Kansas-City-based consulting firm, the California tribe was awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) for an affordable housing project according to a Travois press release. The tribe received $884,507 in federal LIHTCs and $3,446,131 in state LIHTCs through the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC).
The funds will go towards 30 new homes and a new community building for the Bishop, California tribe.
"We are proud and excited to be awarded the LIHTC project; adequate housing for our tribal citizens is one of our community's greatest needs,” said David ThunderEagle, Bishop Paiute Tribe tribal administrator. “Moreover, we embrace the opportunity to showcase how this project can be implemented professionally and responsibly in Indian country and lead the way for other tribes to benefit from this excellent program in the future years to come."
The focus of the new project will be on large families and multi-generational households that are common within the tribe as 26 of the homes will be three-bedroom, two-bathroom units that will sit on a quarter-acre lot providing space for outdoor activities.
The tribe will be stepping into the 21st-Century with the homes as all of them will be highly energy-efficient and equipped with solar panels that are estimated to produce a minimum of 50 percent of the unit’s annual electricity needs. Reduced on-going utility costs will be an added benefit to the families that will occupy the new homes the release stated.
The community building will boast 3,000-square-feet of space and include a playground and barbeque pit. The building will be used for meeting space, and feature a kitchen and restrooms; and will be equipped with solar panels that could meet 75 percent of the building’s annual electricity needs.
Travois worked with the housing authority in structuring the project and submitted the successful LIHTC application.
“For nearly 15 years, Travois has been advocating for changes to the TCAC’s scoring process to give tribes a realistic chance to receive tax credits,” David Bland, chairman and CEO of Travois, said. “This breakthrough for Indian country is coming from a pilot Native American set-aside. This opportunity is very important for tribes in California, and we encourage all California tribes to urge the state to make these changes permanent. We are proud to be partners with the Bishop Paiute Tribe and look forward to much more LIHTC success in Indian country and California.”