HUD Budget: No big benefit for Indian Country
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APRIL 12, 2001

Despite a overall increase in funding at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Indian Country won't be benefiting from significant boosts in the Bush administration's proposed $30.4 billion budget.

Funding for a number of Indian programs at HUD remains the same while the department sees a 6.7 percent increase. In some cases, Native American programs are slated for cuts.

The move comes after the previous administration began a number of initiatives to increase home ownership and improve housing conditions among American Indians. Along with former Secretary Andrew Cuomo, Bill Clinton in 1999 became the first President in decades to visit Indian Country when he launched the "empowerment zones" program at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Funding for the program is being cut by $35 million to $150 million for fiscal year 2002.

Cuomo followed up with a second Pine Ridge visit last year to document successes, albeit small ones, in one of the poorest counties in the nation. And in what was believed to be a first for a Treasury Secretary, he later brought Lawrence Summers to Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico to announce a series of new Indian housing programs, including Community Technology Centers.

The program is one of the few to see a large increase. The budget requests $80 million in competitive grants for tribes and communities seeking to expand computer and technology skills.

Santo Domingo is the location of the first "neighborhood network" in Indian Country.

Elsewhere, funding for Indian programs remains largely the same at HUD. The Indian Housing Block Grant request is $649 million, the same as 2001, while Indian Community Block Grants are down $2 million to $69 million.

Funding for Indian loan programs also stay the same as 2001. The request for both the Title VI Tribal Activities Loan Guarantee Program and the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program is $6 million.

According to the National American Indian Housing Council, only 33 percent of Indians own homes, compared to 67 percent of the country as a whole. Homes are so overcrowded and in such poor conditions that the Council estimates at least 210,000 housing units are need to address pressing conditions throughout Indian Country.

Tribal leaders are lobbying Congress to reauthorize the 1996 Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.

From Secretary Mel Martinez:
Transcript of HUD 2002 Budget News Conference (4/9)
HUD Priorities (4/9)

Get the Budget:
Details of FY 2002 Budget (HUD April 2001)
Highlights of 2002 Funding (The White House February 2001)

Relevant Links:
Native Americans, HUD -
National American Indian Housing Council -

Related Stories:
The Budget Overview (03/01)
Martinez to clean HUD house (02/21)
Group calls for more housing funding (01/12)
Conference talks cooperation (11/29)
Tribes awarded drug grants (10/20)
HUD launches housing programs (10/16)
HUD releases Pine Ridge Report (8/4)