Washington D.C. (KELO AM) - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson has made tribal housing and economic development issues one of his top priorities throughout his career in Congress. That work continues with provisions he included in his bipartisan Housing Finance Reform proposal, which he released this past weekend with Ranking Member Mike Crapo. Johnson included provisions that address the unique housing challenges that face Indian Country by creating a new $20 million annual set-aside for federally recognized tribes in the Housing Trust Fund. The tribal set-aside would be distributed through a competitive grant program administered by the Office of Native American Programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Johnson hopes to consider the legislation in the Banking Committee in the coming weeks.
“As those living in Native communities know all too well, there is an extreme lack of safe, high-quality housing opportunities in Indian Country. That’s why I authored provisions in the housing finance reform proposal to provide dedicated resources to tribes,” Chairman Johnson said.
Chairman Johnson’s support for advancing housing opportunities in Indian Country goes back to his early years in Congress. He was an original cosponsor of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) when it first passed Congress in 1996 and was reauthorized in 2002 and 2008. At the end of last year, the reauthorization of NAHASDA was unanimously voted out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, of which Johnson is a senior member. In the current NAHASDA reauthorization, Senator Johnson successfully spearheaded an effort to include a provision that would assist homeless or at-risk Native American veterans with housing options on reservations.