NAIHC Collaborates With Wells Fargo Foundation to Award Home Repair Grants to Tribal Communities

May 5, 2020 11:00 AM ET
Press Release

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2020 /3BL Media/ – The National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) and Wells Fargo Foundation are pleased to announce over $600,000 in grants to tribal housing programs to carry out housing repairs for senior homeowners in tribal communities. At a time that tribes are being forced to pare down services and devote their limited resources to the COVID-19 pandemic, these new grants will allow tribes to make much needed improvements to help ensure the safety of senior homeowners and their families.

After reviewing applications received in March, NAIHC has selected 21 tribes to each receive up to $30,000 through its Native American Housing Rehabilitation Program. The selected tribes identified senior-owned homes in their communities that have essential repair needs such as new roofs or plumbing improvements, accessibility improvements, and heating maintenance/installation. Many of the homes can currently be classified as substandard based on plumbing, heating or other repair needs. The repairs made through the Rehab Program will ensure that these families have safe places to reside as they are forced to stay home due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report on the Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal Areas, which found that tribal homes experience rates of substandard plumbing at 4.3 times the national average and substandard heating at 6 times the national average. Grants through the NAIHC Rehab Program will target these much-needed improvements.

Additionally, the report found that nearly 1 in 6 homes in tribal communities face overcrowded conditions, limiting the ability of tribal families to practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribes recently were provided an additional $200 million by Congress to their tribal housing programs to prevent and respond to COVID-19 impacts. Now, the Rehab grants from NAIHC and Wells Fargo will provide tribes additional funds to carry out home rehab services, which may have otherwise been limited due to the tribe’s COVID-19 response. Repairing these homes will ensure these tribal seniors will have safe homes to shelter through this pandemic.

“With so much going on related to COVID-19, I’m excited to announce happier news that NAIHC and Wells Fargo Foundation are awarding these funds to directly help our elders have safe homes.” said Gary Cooper, Chairman of the Board of Directors for NAIHC. “There is so much unmet housing needs in our tribal communities and I am proud that NAIHC has been able to work with a partner like Wells Fargo to craft a program specifically meant for Indian Country.”

Tony Walters, executive director of NAIHC said, “This is the first time NAIHC has been able to offer a grant program directly to our tribal housing programs. We certainly had more applications than we could award. It’s great to see that level of excitement, but it also highlights the unmet need and we hope to find additional funds to keep this program alive to address those needs in our tribal communities.”

In addition to the Rehab Program, NAIHC has worked with Wells Fargo over the past two years to provide increased homebuyer education through its “Pathways Home” curriculum and for the first time is beginning to offer NAIHC housing professionals training courses online. In the past year, NAIHC has provided its “Pathways Home: A Native Guide to Homeownership”  train the trainer course to more than 150 tribal housing professionals, who have then been able to provide counseling to more than 2,300 prospective homebuyers in Indian Country. For 20 years, NAIHC has been certifying tribal housing professionals through its Leadership Institute and recently launched the first of those training courses online through assistance provided by Wells Fargo.

“Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities for more than 50 years,” said Connie Wright, senior vice president of housing affordability philanthropy for Wells Fargo Foundation. “We are delighted to be on this path with NAIHC as we continue to help tribal communities gain access to healthy, safe housing while fostering economic growth opportunities.”

Overall, the grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation are just one component of Wells Fargo’s 5-year, $50 million philanthropic commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Wells Fargo announced their AI/AN commitment at NAIHC’s Legal Symposium in December of 2017 and has been working with tribal organizations like NAIHC since that time to address various tribal community development needs.

To view the list of NAIHC Rehab Program recipients, click here.

About the National American Indian Housing Council: The NAIHC is the only national organization representing the housing interests of Native people who reside in Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. The NAIHC is composed of over 289 members representing 496 tribes and housing organizations. NAIHC is the sole, unified voice for promoting and supporting Native housing entities in their efforts to provide culturally relevant, quality, and affordable housing on behalf of Native people.

For more information about NAIHC, visit www.naihc.net.

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Stephanie Grant
+1 (760) 432-5440