Tester presses BIA, HUD to cut burdensome red tape in Indian country
WASH. D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Tester pressed the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of Housing and Urban Development to cut burdensome red tape that has prevented Montana tribal members from obtaining home loans.
“The fact of the matter is that if you want to have a healthy community, you’ve got to have housing,” Tester said. “The folks who are in this room and have seen the situation in Indian country know that housing is horrible. It’s just like inner city poverty — quite frankly— on many of the tribes in this country, and Montana is no exception.”
Tribal members living on trust lands face unique barriers to attaining homeownership, with approximately 90,000 native families homeless or under-housed. Traditional mortgage lenders are often reluctant to issue mortgages to borrowers living on trust land because of the unique challenges and delays that can come with such mortgages.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Assessment of American Indian and Alaska Native Housing Needs released in January 2017 documented a need of 68,000 new units across Indian country to address high rates of substandard homes and overcrowded conditions in tribal communities.