(Eagle Butte, South Dakota) – Today, Senator Tim Johnson, HUD Regional Administrator Rick M. Garcia, and Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks, joined forces to present funding to seven South Dakota Tribal Organizations to address housing, poverty and jobs. They were joined by representatives from Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge reservations.
“Our tribal communities face significant challenges, including inadequate housing and an unacceptably high level of unemployment. I’m glad I could join Elsie Meeks and Rick Garcia in presenting this funding today to help organizations across Indian Country address these issues. These major investments from the USDA and HUD will improve housing conditions and grow the economy on our reservations,” said Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $2.9 million to four rural and tribal communities throughout South Dakota to address distressed housing conditions and concentrated poverty. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the grants from HUD’s new Rural Innovation Fund promote an “entrepreneurial approach” to affordable housing and economic development in rural areas.
“Rural America is vast and diverse, and different communities face different challenges and opportunities,” said Donovan. “Because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to strengthening rural communities, this funding provides flexible resources to address either housing or economic development needs, or both. This is especially important for communities that may have more limited access to resources because of their distant locations. These are catalytic projects that will have an impact on their communities for generations to come.”
“Improving economic opportunities for rural Americans is a top priority of the Obama Administration and Rural Development,” said Meeks. “We have a great working relationship with the reservations and are pleased to continue with the work of assisting them with establishing and creating small and emerging private businesses in the reservation areas which have been historically high poverty and high unemployment areas, thereby creating hope and opportunity to the lives of many rural American Indian families and population.”
The funds today are being provided through HUD’s new Rural Innovation Fund in the amount of $300,000 to promote an “entrepreneurial approach” to affordable housing and economic development in rural areas and USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program in the amount of $99,000. Under the RBEG program, USDA Rural Development helps finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging private business enterprises by providing grant funds to intermediaries to support revolving loan funds or provide technical assistance.
"We are grateful to the USDA and HUD for continuing to fund Four Bands' programs and services that empower residents of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation to achieve prosperity,” said Tanya Fiddler, Executive Director, Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. “These funds are critical for Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that work to develop local reservation economies, improve the quality of life for Native Americans, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.
- Regional Administrator Rick M. Garcia announced HUD awards to:
- Olglala Lakota (Lakota) Housing based in Pine Ridge - $2,000,000
- The Lakota Fund, Inc. based in Kyle - $300,000
- Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, Inc. - $300,000
- Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. - $300,000
- Rural Development State Director Meeks announced USDA Rural Development awards to:
- Wounded Knee Community Development Corporation based in Manderson awarded a Rural Business Enterprise grant award in the amount of $99,000.
- Red Cloud Indian School, Inc. based in Pine Ridge, SD awarded a Rural Business Enterprise grant in the amount of $98,327.
- Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. based in Eagle Butte, awarded a Rural Business Enterprise grant in the amount of $99,000 and a Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program loan of $350,000 and a grant of $85,647.
- The Lakota Fund, Inc. based in Kyle, awarded a Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan of $750,000.
HUD’s new Rural Innovation Fund offers grants of up to $2 million to support innovative housing and economic development activities in 19 states throughout the country. HUD received 307 applications from 48 states for over $236 million, almost 10 times the amount available. Eligible applicants were federally recognized Indian tribes, state housing finance agencies (HFAs), state community development agencies, local rural non-profit organizations, community development corporations, or consortia of these groups. Grantees can use their grant funding to support a variety of housing and economic development activities including construction, preparation of plans, land acquisition, demolition, homeownership counseling, and financial assistance.
Details: HUD awarded Rural Innovation Fund grants in three categories nationwide:
- Comprehensive Grants – 7 Comprehensive grants nationwide, in which grantees have examined the social, housing and economic needs and resources of their target areas and made proposals that address these needs through activities that will have sustained benefit and resources after HUD assistance is used. The maximum grant amount was $2,000,000 for this category. South Dakota received one comprehensive grant.
- Single Purpose Grants –31 Single Purpose grants nationwide, for more targeted initiatives, which typically focus primarily on either housing or economic development. The maximum award amount was $300,000 for this category. South Dakota received three single purpose grants.
- Economic Development and Entrepreneurship for Federally Recognized Tribes – 8 Indian Economic Development and Entrepreneurship grants nationwide, awarded from $5 million set aside for applications for federally recognized Indian tribes. The maximum award amount was $800,000 for this category.
Highlights of the HUD Awards nationwide include:
- 19 states are represented among the service areas, including South Dakota.
- 27 awardees – over half – are tribes or tribal affiliates nationwide. Tribal organizations were competitive in all categories under the NOFA.
- 789 housing units are proposed for low income beneficiaries nationwide.
- 655 total jobs will be created through activities assisted by the grants nationwide. Jobs include 178 construction jobs and 460 permanent jobs nationwide.
- Grantees have proposed to leverage over $18 million in other funds for their respective projects.
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