Sami Jo Difuntorum: Congress must act on Indian housing bill

Sami Jo Difuntorum. Photo from NAIHC

Sami Jo Difuntorum, the chairwoman of the National American Indian Housing Council, calls on Congress to pass H.R.4329 to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act:
NAHASDA reauthorization has been the top legislative priority for the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), the only national organization representing the housing interests of American Indians, Alaska Natives and native Hawaiians with a membership of 466 tribes and housing entities. Throughout 2012 and early 2013, NAIHC conducted a national outreach effort to solicit input from its membership and developed a consensus-based position including many provisions and amendments to improve NAHASDA.

Highlights in the pending reauthorization include strengthening tribal self-determination, expediting approvals by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, streamlining environmental requirements, and authorizing tribes to blend funds for housing construction and sanitation facilities. Additionally, reauthorization legislation includes a provision to create new opportunities for Indian Housing providers to serve for Native American Veterans modeled on the HUD–Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.

Throughout this process, NAIHC worked with lawmakers in hopes of quick action on reauthorization. Bills were introduced in both the House (HR 4277 and HR 4329) and Senate (S 1352) to reauthorize NAHASDA and included many reforms put forth during NAIHC’s outreach.

When the House returns for its lame duck session in November, it will consider, among other bills, HR 4329, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2014, legislation introduced by Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and favorably reported by the House Financial Services Committee in July 2014.

Get the Story:
Sami Jo Difuntorum: Congress Must Reauthorize Native American Housing Programs Now (Indian Country Today 11/6)

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Sami Jo Difuntorum elected as leader of Indian housing group (06/06)
Bipartisan group introduces measure to reauthorize NAHASDA (03/19)

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