Testimony about a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996 topped the meeting of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on July 31. The committee also heard testimony from relevant federal agencies about two land bills, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Land Transfer Act of 2013 and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Chippewa Non-Intercourse Act of 2013.
But it was the proposed reauthorization of the 1996 act that commanded primary attention. Set to expire on September 30, the act was passed to help ensure that tribes and their members are provided safe and affordable housing now and in the future. New provisions of the current bill, S.1352, include increasing usage of low-income housing tax credits and promoting clean energy and sustainable projects by raising total development cost ceilings.
“HUD strongly supports the reauthorization of NAHASDA because the law is essential to building sustainable tribal communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The Indian Housing Block Grant, the largest program under NAHASDA, has infused more than $9.9 billion into Indian housing and community development since its inception 16 years ago.”
“NAHASDA reauthorization has broad support throughout Indian country,” said Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians. “This is one of our top priorities. Additionally, we strongly support all efforts to ensure there are no homeless veterans on our reservations. The words ‘homeless’ and ‘veteran’ do not belong in the same sentence.”