Opinion: HUD home loan program a step in the right direction

Writer calls Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program a small solution to a long-running problem:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is one of the factors that ensured 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 ... as if 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, until recently tribes have had limited capability of applying for loans. Tribes and tribal members could not borrow money to improve, purchase, or build homes. The problem was that the property that they would put the mortgage on was "trusted" to the United States government, otherwise known as “trust land.” This meant that it could not be sold. Lenders were unwilling to take the chance that they could not collect the property as payment for an unpaid loan. This kept tribal members in the unenviable situation where they needed to improve their living arrangements, but could not, nor could they acquire the proper funds.

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 tribes and tribal members 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 HUD, which will then take over the leasehold.

Get the Story:
Tim Richmond: Native American Land and Classism (Indian Country Today 3/18)

Federal Register Notices:
Conforming Amendment to the Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program Regulations (March 5, 2014)
Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program Increase in the Loan Guarantee Fee (March 5, 2014)

Related Stories:
HUD raises Section 184 Indian home loan guarantee fee to 1.5% (3/5)

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