I am a staunch advocate of rural housing needs, and I use my position as Chairman of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee to improve housing opportunities in South Dakota. Rural America has different housing problems than urban areas, and I have worked hard to ensure that South Dakota receives equal recognition and federal support and federal programs are designed to address unique rural housing challenges.
South Dakota has benefited greatly by the outstanding work of our housing authorities. My office works closely with the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, and the commissioners on South Dakota's Housing Board.
I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure that our state and local officials have the resources to provide a high level of service.
The Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996 restructured Native American housing assistance to provide a block grant program and eliminated several programs of housing assistance. NAHASDA, of which I was an original co-sponsor, is designed to provide Federal assistance for Indian tribes in a manner that identifies the right of tribal self-governance. There are two programs authorized for Indian tribes under NAHASDA. They are the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), which is a formula based grant program and Title VI Loan Guarantee, which provides financing guarantees to Indian tribes for loans to develop and expand affordable housing.
As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and Indian Affairs Committee, I am uniquely positioned to provide for South Dakota’s reservations and to call attention to the housing shortages, overcrowding, homelessness, and infrastructure problems facing Indian communities. In 2010, I invited Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan to South Dakota to witness the housing challenges in Indian Country. Secretary Donovan and I toured the Rosebud Indian Reservation to gain a firsthand look at the dire housing conditions that exist in reservation communities and to meet with local housing groups in South Dakota.
As Chairman, I have held hearings about how federal agencies can work better together to meet the housing needs of tribes and how private capital can help Tribes leverage their resources.
I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Donovan and my Senate colleagues to improve access to quality, safe, and stable housing in Indian Country. I believe the federal government needs to live up to its treaty and trust responsibility and work to find innovative solutions to the housing crisis facing our Indian communities.