Tuesday, June 21, 2005

NDN NEWZ: Housing Funds May Go To War Effort

Independent - June 8, 2005: Indian housing funds may go to war effort
By Pamela G. Dempsey
Diné Bureau

June 8, 2005

WINDOW ROCK Next year's federal housing dollars are up for grabs but the efforts of Native American tribes to get a piece of the pie may go unnoticed by congressional leaders.

While Congress may make "polite statements" to those Native American leaders lobbying for more funding, Chester Carl, chief executive officer of Navajo Housing Authority, said that congressional appropriations will most likely boost war budgets.

"The truth is, we don't have the voting power," Carl said.

In a position paper to the Navajo Nation Government Services Committee, Navajo Housing Authority reported that the Navajo Nation could lose $14 million in Native American federal housing grants if President George Bush's 2006 budget is implemented.

"That is nearly $14 million in lost opportunity for some of the nation's poorest and most neglected citizens in a program that was already under-funded," the report stated.

While federal appropriations for the upcoming budget year have been sorted, Carl said the housing end of it is just getting underway.

Federal policies, such as the Housing and Urban Development's decision to use the 2000 Census Multi-Race American Indian and Alaska Native data to distribute Indian Housing Block Grants, draw money away from those tribes with the most need, the report stated.

Instead, Navajo Housing Authority is advocating the use of verified enrolled tribal membership.

"The Navajo Nation, which in the 2000 Census count has over 180,000 tribal enrolled members, has already lost over $10 million due to this policy decision that has been redirected to core urban areas like Chicago, IL., Portland, OR; and the state of Oklahoma," the report stated.

But money isn't the only contributing factor to tribal housing needs.

"Money is a big part of it," Carl said, "but there are other vehicles not conducive to housing."

Tribal dependency on federal government funds, prioritizing housing needs, and the multiple red-tape steps from start to finish in buying or building a home on tribal trust lands are all contributing factors, Carl said.

Navajo Housing Authority reports that each year 2,000 Navajos join the housing markets and estimate that the current housing need on the Navajo Nation is more than 20,000 units.

"We're taking every piece and working on it," Carl said.

Hey, Bush & Cronies? You want this damned war so much...YOU pay for it. Leave our housing dollars alone!



At 11:29 AM, Blogger Angel said...

:::shaking head::::: I would never read about some of these things if it weren't for you. Bush should be ashamed of himself.


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