Today in Washington, D.C. and as part of the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet will lead a plenary on Tribal Economic Development at 9:30 a.m. ET.
In October, Castro visited the Pine Ridge Reservation joined by retiring Senator Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) after meeting with Oglala Sioux Tribe officials at the Prairie Wind Casino and Resort he then met with the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation a company that is developing housing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation using energy efficient homes.
On the reservation, Castro visited a two-bedroom home inhabited by 13 people. When asked what he took away from his visit Castro stated:
“The resiliency of the people and the need… I witnessed families that have upward of 13 people living in a two bedroom. HUD wants to ensure that tribal communities are able to thrive and I look forward to working with the people of Pine Ridge.”
In a HUD release, Secretary Castro expressed his views on building a stronger infrastructure. “Knowledge is fuel for progress and innovation,” said Castro.
According to the HUD release, “HUD is working with Native American leaders and organizations to strengthen communities by improving living conditions and by creating economic opportunities for tribes and Indian housing residents. Over the last 16 years, HUD has helped build more than 36,000 affordable units through its Indian Housing Block Grants. In 2013, HUD guaranteed nearly 4,000 loans to build, buy, rehabilitate, or refinance homes for American Indian and Alaska Native families.”
The White House Tribal Nations Conference Plenary will take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.