Opinion

Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing






New housing construction by the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Photo from Lumbee Housing Department

Tim Richmond of 1st Tribal explains the need for the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is one of the factors that has assured that many native tribes still face poverty today. The Bureau controls everything. Who the manager of the account is, how assets are used, and how revenue is generated.

Unfortunately most managers in charge of funds at the BIA have mismanaged how resources on lands, the lands themselves, and the profits are used. If that means that the profits go to non-native companies who want to mine the oil and coal, cut down the trees, and make use of our fishing grounds ... well the tribes didn’t really need the billions of dollars that were mismanaged over the last few decades.

As if that is not bad enough, native tribes until recently have had limited capability of applying for loans. Tribes or tribe members could not borrow money anyway, to improve, purchase, or build homes.

In an effort to solve this problem, HUD 184 was created. HUD is better known as the Housing and Community Development Act. Section 184 allows tribe members or tribes to request that land in trust become a leasehold estate. This allows a mortgage to be taken on a lease that is associated with the land. If the native borrower cannot repay the loan, the lender will be repaid by the HUD. The HUD will then take over the leasehold.

This is a miniscule step in the right direction. Loans should not be necessary; nor would they if the American government would release control of Native land to the tribes. Or at the very least if they would ensure that the funds were used in a manner that would benefit the tribes and not outside entities.

Get the Story:
Tim Richmond: Native American land and classism (The Waxahachie Daily Light 8/28)

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HUD raises Section 184 Indian home loan guarantee fee to 1.5% (3/50