From left: Morongo Band council member Brian Lugo, Jeffrey London, director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service in Washington, D.C., Morongo Band Chairman Robert Martin, and Morongo Band council member John Muncy beside the Morongo Veterans Memorial at the tribe's headquarters in Banning, California. Photo courtesy Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Morongo Band enters into agreement to help tribal veterans secure home loans

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians will be helping tribal veterans in southern California secure home loans.

An agreement signed on Tuesday allows the tribe to participate in the Native American Direct Loan program at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Tribal veterans will be able to secure loans to buy, build, or renovate a home on trust or allotted lands.

“Historically, securing a home loan has always been an extremely difficult process for Native Americans, and it’s exponentially harder if the property is located on reservation land,” Chairman Robert Martin said i in a press release. “This agreement will help ensure that our tribal veterans who have honorably served in the U.S. military will be able to purchase, construct, or improve a home for their families, and that the terms of that loan will be fair.”

The tribe is the first in southern California to join the program. Only three other tribes in the northern and far eastern part of the state have signed agreements, according to the VA.

Chairman Martin signed the memorandum of understanding with Jeffrey London, the director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service, in a ceremony on the Morongo Reservation.