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tv   Hearing on Native American Housing Concerns and Opportunities  CSPAN  August 19, 2021 11:19pm-12:38am EDT

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and libertarian institute director scott horton argues that the war on terror has been counterproductive and too costly to continue. watch american history tv and book tv every weekend on c-span two and find a schedule on your program guide or visit a hearing now on housing for native americans, as well as opportunity and concern. leaders talk about housing infrastructure, the need to invest in safe and affordable housing on the road that the community development financial institutions fund conflict. the senate banking subcommittee on housing and community development held the hearing. it is an hour and 15 minutes. >> this is my first hearing as chair of the subcommittee and i
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am so glad to be joined by ranking member rounds from south dakota. we have worked together on native housing issues for several years. when we started talking earlier this year about our shared interest in this subcommittee, native housing issues immediately came to mind is a topic for both of us. so i am looking forward to looking with him on the subcommittee, this congress, as we examine a number of important housing, transportation and community development issues. we are joined today by a panel of witnesses who will share their work to address housing and security in native communities and their experiences with federal indian housing programs. this topic is personal to me. minnesota is home to 11 sovereign tribal nations, and large indigenous populations in the twin cities. i have had the great pleasure -- great privilege of visiting and meeting with tribal leaders from minnesota to hear firsthand what they see challenges and opportunities for their
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communities. in 2019, i held a statewide listening tour on housing issues. as part of that tour, we held four tribal specific sessions. a constant, consistent message that i heard across all four listening sessions with native leaders was the need for more supportive housing and culturally specific programming, particularly to support native people experiencing homelessness. current and historical trauma amongst native americans contributes to the disproportionately high prevalence of homelessness among these communities. and they told me that without culturally specific programming , this won't work. native people experiencing homelessness struggle to access services, of course, and to maintain housing stability. it is a difficult challenge and tribal leaders are using scarce resources to try to address the complicated challenges of overcrowded homes, cost bergen renters, and low home ownership
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rates on tribal lands. considered that in minnesota, 49% of native households own their own homes, compared to 76% of white house holds. nationally, this homeownership disparity exists as well, with about 51% of native households owning a home compared to about 73% of white households. homeownership requires access to credit. in 2019, lenders in minnesota denied almost 25% of native american mortgage applications. by contrast, lenders denied only 6% of white applicants. in equities and mortgage lending are only one factor contributing to disparities in homeownership. we also note that legal barriers to lending on trust land, a lack of intergenerational wealth, and underinvestment in federal indian housing programs is also an issue. in this hearing, we have a platform to elevate the voices of those struggling with housing and security, and those working
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to combat it in communities. -- communities from minnesota to south dakota, montana, nevada and all over the country. the last time the committee held a hearing dedicated to these issues was during the 112th congress, when fewer than half of the members of the subcommittee were even members of the senate. i am hopeful that today presents an opportunity for this committee to rededicate ourselves to meeting the treaty and moral obligations of our nation when it comes to ensuring that native americans have access to safe, affordable and stable housing. we have a once in a generation moment to address the deep systemic barriers to housing in indian country and i hope you will all join me in this effort. together, we can help native families across the country secure space -- safe, stable and affordable housing and finally give tribes the resources that they need, resources they are already owed, so that we can
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find solutions that work in communities. it is on us to prove to tribal nations that the federal government is ready to live up to its commitments and to play a role in reducing homelessness, providing housing assistance, and reducing disparities in homeownership. before i turned to senator rounds, i would like to say a brief word about how i view the work of this subcommittee. housing and transportation issues we know touch the lives of every single american. if you don't have a safe, affordable place to live, nothing else in your life works. it is nearly impossible to focus on your education, your job or your family if you don't have a good, stable place to live. and if you cannot get what you need to go safely, affordably and reliably, it is pretty hard for anything else in your life to work either. right now, too many families are struggling to find affordable housing, and to get access to transportation, especially families of color and native people. this has happened for a range of
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reasons, the history of unfair and inequitable housing policies, lack of funding, and a lack of understanding, sometimes just a lack of attention. i intend to use this subcommittee to examine these issues and to do all that we can to make sure that housing and transit policies work for all families. i can't wait to roll up my sleeves and to get to work and i look forward to hearing from her witnesses today, and from the members of this subcommittee. now, i will turn to senator rounds for his opening statement. sen. rounds: thank you, madam chair. thank you to our witnesses for taking the time to attend today's hearing. i look forward to hearing from all of you. let me just begin by thanking the chair. senator smith and i are not only working on housing issues, we are working on a number of areas. sometimes, that's not something we talk about with regard to items that make news and headlines are anything, but there's a lot of us that try to
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work across allies lines back and forth. the senate requires bipartisan support for any kind of activity to move forward. senator smith and i are working on ag issues, water development issues, rural economic issues. this is an area that we both agree is a place where we really can make a difference in our home states, and for rural parts of our country. today, this committee will examine an issue of great importance to me and to so many in my home state of south dakota, and one that this committee has not held a hearing on in nearly 10 years. that issue is providing safe, affordable and stable housing for native american communities throughout the united states. i hope this is one of multiple opportunities that we will have to address this matter this congress, and work together across the aisle on solutions to the policy challenges in this area. this issue not only impacts the lives of thousands of south dakota's, but also millions more
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of our tribal members across the united states. in south dakota, we have nine federally recognized tribes, each of which faces various and unique tribal housing concerns. one of these tribes is represented here today and i would like to introduce mr. eric sheppard from the tribe in south dakota. thank you for being with us today. you might want to just wave at everybody. recent data shows that housing conditions for native american households are substantially worse than u.s. households. in fact, native americans have some of the greatest housing needs in the united states. that's according to the national low income housing coalition. the reasons for this being that they face overcrowding, high poverty rates, lack of plumbing, and adequate heating and other severe infrastructure issues. that is if they are even able to access housing options at all. this is a serious problem, and now is the time to fix it.
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in addition, there are other fundamental challenges that make homeownership more difficult for native americans. the complicated legal nature of tribal trust land can make it exponentially more difficult to lend and borrow on land in indian country. legislation that senator smith and i partnered on in the past has resulted in a number of complications, but there is clearly more work to do. the fdic's reports that native americans and alaskan native american individuals are unbanked at triple the average of normal americans. not having access to financial services makes owning and even renting a home that much more difficult. i hope the hearing will also shed light into how housing challenges are exacerbated by other legal and economic issues. even before covid-19 pandemic, native american housing programs already in existence have failed to adequately serve the needs of our poorest tribal communities,
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especially in more rural areas across the country. it is my hope that congress can also make progress this year on reauthorization of the native american housing assistance and self-determination act. i look forward to hearing our witnesses' thoughts on reauthorization's, reforms and alternative funding options for native housing in light of the recent and him. these past few months, covid-19 pandemic has pushed more native americans living on reservations to seek homeownership. but long-standing barriers continue to prevent this. that is why partnered together once again with senator smith on two pieces of legislation, including the native american housing affordability act, and legislation -- both of which i am looking forward to discussing today. for years, congress and tribal leaders have worked to address these native american housing issues. there have been a range of different approaches and challenges, and we seem to have fallen short along the way.
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while these issues are complex and compounded when in a row setting, there is no excuse for the situation which so many of our tribal members face every single day just by being or wanting to be at home. it is time that we make a concerted effort of stakeholders and in consultation with our tribal members to develop solutions that meet the needs of our state's. growing tribal communities again, we welcome all of future today and look forward to hearing your testimony about this very important mission. i thank you for attending and -- very important issue. i thank you for attending and participating. sen. smith: thank you so much. i am not going to introduce our witnesses. i will introduce all five and then turned to each of you to make your opening statement. we have with us today the chief
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executive officer of the national congress of american indians. adrian stevens, the acting board chair of the national american indian housing council, and also the executive director of the seneca national housing authority and a member of the seneca nation. the senior vice president for community development, and the center for indian country development at the minneapolis federal reserve bank. the chief executive officer of the american indian community development corporation in minneapolis, minnesota and also the chair of the board of the commissioners -- excuse me, the chair of the board of the commissioners of the housing and community development agency. greetings to my fellow minnesotans. also, eric sheppard, the executive director of the housing authority and south dakota. eric is also a member of the community. welcome and thank you all of you
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for your willingness to speak with us today and i look forward to hearing from each of you. before you begin your opening statements, just a few reminders. once you start speaking, there will be a slight delay before you are displayed on the screen. to minimize background noise, please click the mute button until it is your turn to speak or ask questions. you should have all on your screens a box labeled clock that will show you how much time you have remaining. for witnesses, i ask you to please keep your opening statements to about five minutes. you will have the opportunity to have your full written statements submitted as part of the record. for all senators, the five-minute clock applies to your questions also. when you have 30 seconds remaining for your statements or questions, you will hear a bell ring to remind you that your time has almost expired and it will ring again when your time has expired. if there is a technology issue, we will move to the next witness or senator until that issue is resolved.
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send arounds and i have agreed to go by seniority in this hearing. i will now turn to your opening statements. >> thank you, senator, and good morning, chairwoman smith, ranking member arounds, and members of the subcommittee on housing, transportation and community development. this is quite an honor to be present in the senate banking committee. on behalf of the national congress of american indians, as the chief executive officer, dante desiderio, we represent the largest and oldest organization comprised of sovereign tribal nations under citizens. tribal nations across the country aimed to maintain housing infrastructure that improves their citizens' health outcomes, sustains their regional economy, and importantly addresses the growing population with our tribes. i do want to just comment for a
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second on the idea, chairwoman smith, of taking a listening tour in indian country is the best way to learn about listening country. senator arounds, i agree that now is the time to fix it. for decades, the federal government has recognized the responsibility of tribal nations to provide adequate housing that has been critically underfunded. as a result, our tribal communities see overcrowded homes at a rate roughly eight times the national average, and over 70% of our existing housing requires extensive upgrades and repairs. in 2017, it was reported that it will take approximately 68,000 new units to alleviate overcrowding and replace those in grave condition. these disparities increase the vulnerability of american indians and alaska natives to the covid-19 pandemic, and resulted in our community having at times the highest infection,
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hospitalization and death rates per capita in the united states. today, my testimony will focus on impediments and barriers facing tribal nations and tribally designate housing entities when attempting to build and finance housing. i will turn to recommendations that allow for construction and financing of housing on tribal lands. i want to address the challenges and barriers of lending on trust lands and the burdens of the permitting process. the fdic found that 60% of tribal households were unba nked, compared to 5% of the general population. the unique status makes private lenders reluctant to lend to either individual natives, tribal nations and tribally designated housing entities. the bia must refuse or trust land leases and provide verification of ownership, which can be delayed for months. second, there is a lack of access to housing tax credits
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for multifamily housing units in indian country. these tax credits are only provided to state governments, who in turn have the ability to offer those two tribal nations, but often do not. if they do, it is sporadic. while construction costs and inflation continued to rise, flat federal funding on indian housing program results in a sharp decrease in the amount of affordable housing units. finally, while identifying barriers are helpful in understanding challenges, it doesn't always offer a pathway for creating policy solutions. so, i want to offer a few solutions. congress should increase the access to low income housing tax credits and provide tax credits at a proportionate rate for tribal governments. congress should support
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finalizing the implementation of the most recent cra proposed rules and encourage other banking oversight entities to adopt similar rules. third, congress should create a $50 million tribal allocation from the usda 502 direct lending program to get capital into indian country, and expand the test program that was done in south dakota. and lastly, while outside the jurisdiction of this committee, congress should reauthorize the -- and fully funded. it would authorize two important home loan programs. when drafting this legislation, national congress of american indians urges congress to establish an assistant secretary for indian housing and housing in urban development that would
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streamline environmental rules, allow tribal housing programs, access sanitation funding. congress should permanently authorize tribal veterans assistance programs to ensure all native veterans receive the benefits they deserve. in conclusion, if congress does not act, is a sting tribal housing existing tribal housing will continue to deteriorate and tribes will be left vulnerable, as we have all sing during the covid-19 pandemic. thank you so much for allowing me to testify. >> thank you so much. we will now turn to mr. stevens. >> good morning. my name is adrian stevens. i am the acting chair of the board of directors of the national american ending housing council. i currently serve as the executive director of the nation housing authority.
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i appreciate the opportunity to testify before the senate to discuss tribal housing. i would like to thank chairwoman smith, ranking member arounds, and committee members for having this hearing. in addition to the comments i will make today, i have submitted a formal written statement for the record. the committee asked as to describe the state of housing in indian country. unfortunately, the answer is that housing needs in our tribal community are great and persistent. there is a long-standing housing shortage across indian country due to years of stagnant investment. tribal housing programs relied on federal funding. funding for the program has been flat for nearly 20 years, providing tribes only 2/3 of the purchasing power today that they provided in 1990. we are asking tribes to do a lot with their housing dollars each year. tribes are tasked with managing existing housing stock that have
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been managed over decades and now is often aging and needing constant repairs. the tribes also provide low income rest -- rental assistance, provide student housing, housing for veterans, housing counseling services for future homeowners, and we expect them to build new housing units teacher. tribes are expected to carry out all of the services when nearly 400 of the recipients received less than 500,000 a year. tribal communities received less than 100,000 a year for their housing programs. the program has been successful. and has provided tribes dedicated and consistent funding each year to improve their capacity and ability to improve their communities. tribal housing programs have never been capable to provide housing services to the communities and that is due to the program. when we fall short, it's a lack of investment to spur new housing development in indian
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country. in the first decade, tribes were building well over 2000 units a year across the country. more had been built annually before the program wasn't active. new construction has decreased as funding diminishes with inflation nature. currently, tribes are building roughly 1000 units a year. 68,000 units are needed to address overcrowded homes and substandard housing in tribal communities. unless we change how we invest in housing development indian country, tribes will not catch up. tribes were piecing their housing programs together with various grants and funding sources. despite the original promise of the block grant, tribes are again today piecing their housing programs together. tribes are levering resources and programs from the u.s. treasury, usda, veterans affairs, nontribal programs and others. however, as tribes put these
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pieces together, they are often confronted with a multitude of different eligibility requirements, environmental reviews and program rules. this project planning becomes more complex due to leveraging multiple funding sources. tribes must -- to determine the best use of their staff's time. what can congress do? we need to reauthorize and properly fund the programs. the programs provide the greatest flexibility for tribes to meet the housing needs of the community's. one properly funded, we see new unit development across indian country. we need to encourage commercial lending and investment through tax credits and incentives. too often, private banks and lenders avoid tribal communities because the perception is there. they don't provide the same return on investment that something in a nontribal area
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would provide. delays in simple trust land documentation deter banks and lenders alike from prioritizing housing loans on trust lands. all fit -- those resources impact tribal community sparingly across the country, if at all. we have seen federal and city programs that prioritize or incentivize tribal areas or create specific -- we see promise when a federal program that is nationally installed partners directly with tribal organizations and implement their federal programs directly in tribal community's. many usda pilot programs
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subsequently we have seen many cdfi's issue more usda homeowners in tribal communities than usda was able to provide in the past decade. let's do more of that. in short, we have to increase investments of dollars and effort from congress, from the private sector. we must recognize the real nature in many committees. the small size of many tribal communities, the cost of project develop and in tribal communities all comes together to affect housing. families continue to face greater levels of overcrowded and substandard homes and lack of affordable housing options. with that, i will end my statement. thank you again for your support and including the housing -- thank you again for your support. sen. smith: thank you very much.
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>> thank you. -- thank you for the opportunity to testify today. as the senior vice president of community developing an engagement at the federal reserve bank of minneapolis, i oversee the work of the center for indian country develop. it supports tribes through actionable research and community collaboration to further tribal economic prosperity and also leverages our department's brought expertise on affordable housing, labor markets and early childhood develop. i should add today that my views that i expressed here are not necessarily the views of the federal reserve bank of minneapolis or the federal reserve system. our work points to the harmful effects of the current state of housing for native americans, alaska natives, and other indigenous populations. my comments and detailed written testimony focus on indian country's specific housing challenges and opportunities demonstrated by indian country
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leaders. as you have already heard this morning, housing is often in short supply and at substandard conditions in indian country. homes are seven times more likely to be crowded and nearly four times more likely to lack complete plumbing. these conditions have been shown to harm family health and stability. in 2017, it was estimated at 68,000 units would be needed just to address these issues, which would likely cost tens of billions of dollars. we focused on five factors that reinforce these barriers. first, native nations are sovereign but their land is held in trust and must have its title cleared by the u.s. government. mortgages in on trust land are also -- mortgages. housing professionals and homebuyers for going identify these hurdles as significant. second, indian country homebuyers often face an uphill battle working with lenders to finance their homes. are economist work shows that native american borrowers on tribal lands are more likely to receive high-cost loans, leaving them ultimately to pay more for
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their homes over the life of their mortgage. third, the tools designed to work in indian country are often underutilized on trust land. this applies to indian country specific products. but it is also true of products that feature -- products like the usda section 50 program2. the fourth reason relates to the federal government's failure to secure trig applications -- secure treaty obligations. for access to water or transportation raise the overall cost of construction. fifth, federal funding sources with different eligibility requirements and process requirements complicate pre- construction process and may not reflect the unique needs of indian country. no quick fixes will radically improve things overnight but there are plenty of innovations that show promise for a brighter future and present potential avenues for involvement of congress.
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are research and engagement suggest 4 recommendations. the federal government should continue to expand financial capacity of native community financial -- community development financial institutions and other tribal institutions. native cdfi's offer credit grounded -- offer grounded credit solutions. the pilot that was just mentioned involving two native cdfi's and the usda in south dakota has shown the power of connecting community-based lenders and federally based resources. the federal government can create, normalize and complementary interagency lending processes in indian country. we recommend that federal agencies and governments and enterprises work with representatives who handle government, lenders, developers and nonprofits to find solutions and provide guidance for housing in indian country. third, unapproved title process on trust land with support
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housing development and tribal sovereignty. the harp act of 2012 krieger process for tribes to assume additional control trust land management. sufficient funding is not available for the act itself to fund the administered capacity necessary for taking over trust land management from the bia. that cost is simply too high for many tribes. finally, data on native americans in indian country programs should be improved. with some exemptions, existing sources are often insufficient to affect policy impacts or change well-being. illuminating economic conditions in indian country will require collaboration on at the dollar general financial resources to obtain sufficient statistical samples. congress has recently taken steps to support tribal sovereignty and access to important housing resources. i hope our testimony today provides insight into how federal policy can further support and accelerate indian
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country's upward momentum. i would like to thank you again. >> thank you very much. i will turn now to mr. gozi. >> thank you, madam chair. it is my honor to provide testimony to this committee this morning. looking at the current situation regarding safe, standard and affordable housing on tribal trust land or within rural or urban settings throughout our country. american indians fall far short of the national average in the percentage of homeownership when compared to their white counterparts. there are several reasons for this disparity. first, access to mortgage products that meet the specific needs of american -- the american indian population. the indian home loan guarantee program is a home mortgage product specifically designed for american indian, alaska native families, alaskan
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villages, tribes and tribal designated housing entities. congress established this program in 1992 to facilitate and increase access to capital in american indian communities. although this mortgage product has had some impact, it has not equaled the playing field. the number of lending institutions that offer the loan product are limited to a slight few. i would suggest that the section 184, or a like loan product, would be better served, provided through american indian community development financial executions, cdfi's, that are a great asset to the indian country. the cdfi's provide a myriad of services are dedicated to the financial success of its clients. the work of the cdfi in homeownership is providing homebuyer education, credit repair, budgeting,
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responsibilities of homeownership and other aspects of this sometimes daunting process. a large number of american indian clients seeking homeownership are first-time homeowners looking to provide stability, enhancing the community's stabilization, making these services important to their individual success. i believe this relationship would benefit through the mortgage process. currently, there clients make applications for mortgages with other lending institutions. sometimes, these are online application, and this can be a totally different experience than they have had in the past and working with the cdfi. to provide an opportunity for american indian cdfi to have a mortgage product like the section 184 will complete the process and provide a greater level of success. american indian cdfi's give the opportunity to provide a better level of service, gain the knowledge and financial benefits
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of the mortgage process, making this a win-win for both the client and the cdfi. secondly, affordability. income levels within the american communities have a substantial effect on the home lo amount available to theman. the availability of homes are scarce and lower-priced areas. having a forgivable deferred loan product will reduce, over time, or the a great investment to the stabilization of american indian families and communities. having a safe, standard and affordable home creates the foundation that promotes better outcomes in areas of education, health and financial stability. our homes can be the greatest -- single greatest financial asset in one's life, making way for families to continue to drive, versus just survive, in the current economic climate. by investing in our american indian families via homeownership, we can create
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immediate impact to the lives of our youth, elders and adults. this type of investment creates immediate impact and also provides long-term impact and the stabilization of families. thirdly, a land trust model. we have used the land trust model in minneapolis to make homeownership more affordable. you know, in minneapolis, we had much success in this and reducing the mortgage loan. this allows the ability to create the buying power of the homeowner. a provides a monthly benefit to the homeowner and a reduced monthly payment. in the land trust model, the appreciation is shared by a predetermined amount so that should the property be sold, the land trust model can also be beneficial in continued housing affordability for the community by reinvestment of appreciation by the land trust. in today's times, we need to use
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every financial opportunity to help american indian families understand and relish in the benefits of homeownership. we need to use a number of initiatives to make homeownership possible. we have used city, county and state funding options, including grants, deferred loans and other homeownership initiatives. we look forward to our federal partners in providing opportunities to increase homeownership to american indian families throughout the country. i thank you for your attention to this matter. sen smith: we will now turn to mr. shepphard. >> i would like to thank madame smith for the opportunity to speak, senator rounds, and other members of the subcommittee for this opportunity to talk about indian housing today. it has been an especially hard and challenging 15 months for those of us on the wahpeton
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reservation in south dakota. the covid pandemic hit home and we are still working on recovery today. housing has been at the forefront of the recovery efforts, providing a safe place for our members to shelter and recover and managing the many new relief programs that congress has provided to us. a large part of our recovery effort has often involved looking past the pandemic and into the long-term status of indian housing programs. both on our reservation and in the united states as a whole, the inadequate funding and other program issues that existed prior to 2020 must now be addressed to assure the long-term sustainability of indian housing. to put it more plainly, we all must understand something is wrong when the baselevel appropriation for the native american indian housing and self-determination act has not
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been increased since the law was originally passed 25 years ago, as congress and the new biden administration focuses on helping americans rebuild its dilapidated infrastructure and recalibrate, it is housing assistance programs indian country and indian housing must also be given a sense. i know congress has a particular interest in the section 184 program. i can tell you that the program has had limited impact on reservation lands, housing trust by the united states. while a few individuals have been able to secure lease home mortgages under the program, most of the plans offer land where banks and lenders are more comfortable providing traditional mortgages. the situation has not helped.
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the 184 act was passed in 1992, requiring underwriting provisions. i would like to call the subcommittee's attention to a number of important issues that congress should address regarding indian housing programs. we appreciate the emergency funds received and to receive a fair share of the new housing infrastructure fund as a. the cares act that consolidated the appropriations act of 2021 and the american rescue plan have all included much-needed emergency funds to support indian housing operations during the pandemic. we do appreciate that congress has allocated money to alleviate the short-term effects of the covid-19 pandemic. we can confirm that this money has immediate and vital impact on preserving and protecting housing services and resources in our tribal communities. our proposal to now address the more long-term and sustainable solutions to improving indian
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housing, the recently proposed american jobs plan, includes 231 billion to improve and produce more housing and housing infrastructure, including a proposed amount of at least $50 billion to renovate, rehabilitate federally assisted housing. we are asking you to help ensure that if new infrastructure legislation is passed, indian housing continues to get its fair share of the funding. 5% set-aside for indian housing would be. . $2.5 billion. federal programs have long negotiated indianhousing needs s are severe. it has declined more rapidly than for other federal housing programs. tens of thousands of new units are needed. thousands of existing units, some are currently boarded up because of lack of funding and severe contamination, are in need of substantial rehabilitation.
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the fact is that $2,000,000,500 of additional new funding is needed. these conditions need to be addressed. tribes have the capacity and build -- to build and re-ability their housing. the report has found that they can quickly reacquire the capacity to build housing and other infrastructure construction to scale. we are prepared to quickly produce a substantial number of new units. this will help tribes and villages generate for their communities, the county, the country, the post-pandemic economic recovery just as they did 10 years ago after the
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greatest -- recession. it's -- thank you for this time to testify. >> thank you very much to all of our panelists. we will begin around of five-minute questions from senators. i will start. the unique challenge that we have with housing on tribal land is that properties are far more likely to have significant, severe physical defects than the rest of the united states housing stock. on tribal land, it is five times higher than the national average. homes lack heating at a rate of more than 100 times the national average. let me turn to mr. stevens. if you could just talk about why you think these challenges are so much pervasive on tribal
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housing. is this primarily a funding issue or are there other things we need to be doing in order to address this challenge? >> i want to address this. let's go back in time to address this. there's this idea that tribes have been placed on marginal land. they have a limited land-based. the housing stock has not kept up with the demand. when you are looking at building on limited land-based with limited access to water and other infrastructure, the issues you are mentioning tend to be more significant. it is an issue of funding. i'm glad we are having this conversation around housing during a national conversation of what is infrastructure.
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this isn't an isolated issue. as we talk about infrastructure, we need to talk about the infrastructure needs that support housing which is what you are getting at in your question. if the housing stock isn't keeping up with the demand and we have the highest number of family members per household, it stresses the existing housing stock and the limitations on funding, water infrastructure has gone down. also looking at lands not included in the resources conservation act which provides usda with that type of planning authority. there's a number of issues that go into this. on the marginal lands and the lack of ability to address the larger, expensive infrastructure issues that go into forming a holistic community or housing
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stock. >> thank you. we should be thinking about this in the context of the infrastructure conversation we are having. would you like to add anything to that? >> dante headed on the nose. talking about the infrastructure issues and lack of funding. he has pretty much stated the answer to your question. the homes that we have on reservation, they are one of the issues that we have. being able to replace the homes that we do have. availability of funding. >> right. in the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, the community development has played
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a really important role in providing financial services to folks that have been overlooked and are unable to get access to financing. can you talk to us about what we need to do to help cfi's support homeownership for indigenous people. what have you seen that is most effective in accomplishing this goal? >> good. we created a community fund that has morphed into a minnesota fund. it's new. they chose not to enter into the ppp arena because of their size. i see them as being the most integral part of homeownership. especially in urban areas and reservation areas. serving both the urban area and working with the community in
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wisconsin. i see the advantage in the urban and on the reservation rural areas. i believe by supporting them with providing more products that they can use to reach their clients and tribal members would be advantageous both in homeownership and all lending opportunities, which we see native americans being un-banked and not being able to access some of the financial needs that they might have. >> thank you so much. i'm very interested in the usda loan pilot program in south dakota. i expect the senator will ask about that. if he doesn't, i will return to that. >> thank you. i appreciate the fact that we are having this hearing today.
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it seems to be a whole series of conflicts here that our analysts have delved into. let me begin with this. i would like to direct this first one to mr. shepherd. it doesn't fall squarely within the jurisdiction of a banking community. i hope that congress can make progress here on the reauthorization of the native american housing assistance act. it's a very broad piece of legislation. i was hoping to learn more about the priorities your organizations and tribes have identified in the reauthorization package. i know you have an interest in this. what are some of the key priorities that they are hoping to see when the hobbs act is reauthorized? >> thank you. in several other contexts, when tribes need approval from an
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agency, congress has authorized an approach to move a decision point has the agency. if the agency takes too long to act, we support this kind of approach in the context of decision-making. the hobbs act expired in 2013 and has not been reauthorized despite efforts in every session to do so. their development of affordable housing his lack. i think it's time. we need to change our mission there. we've been going 25 years now. there, we've had multiple consultations, tribes coming to d.c.. maybe more than once a year. we are getting past the pandemic now. it's time. let's leave it at that. it's time to reauthorize the hobbs act. >> thank you.
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i was thinking about this. i will direct my next question. on article recently referred to federal assistance programs in indian country as the marshall plan for indian country. it pointed out that the american rescue plan dedicated $36 billion to federally recognized tribes this year on top of a billion dollars from cares. given the scope of challenges when it comes to housing, i hope that this money is being directed and you are seeing it on the ground there. can you tell us more about the effectiveness of how those funds are being transmitted through the br -- bureaucracy and whether or not there seems to be any effectiveness with regard to the federal assistance during the covid-19 when it comes to housing specifically. >> thank you for that. the experience for tribes on the discretionary funds from the cares act should be separated a
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little bit from the american rescue plan. the cares act, through the department of treasury, had limitations on the use of the funds. infrastructure was relatively limited for tribes to be able to pursue. the subsequent legislation opened up housing, housing vouchers. in the latest round, the american rescue plan, infrastructure was included but it wasn't housing. we are able to address some of the water issues and sanitation issues with the rescue act funding and get to some of the housing vouchers and housing assistance through some of the other legislation. it's all incredibly helpful. i think it serves as a model for putting out discretionary money. but the other side of that is opening the options for tribes to be able to address the dramatic infrastructure needs that have come out during the pandemic and really showcased
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what deficiency in infrastructure, what the real impacts are. the marshall plan idea is great. the discretionary funding is great. we are looking forward to addressing some of the infrastructure needs. we are also looking forward to further support through infrastructure funding to be able to open that discretionary funding up to address all of these needs. tying hands on discretionary money may not be the best use for addressing our needs on the ground. we all know that firsthand an arc immunities. >> thank you. let me follow-up on senator smith's comments concerning the program. there's more that we can do to help these programs function appropriately.
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do you have any thoughts on how to improve and build on the 5'2" program? have we learned anything so far? >> i really haven't had any issues or really any type of development with the 5'2" program here at seneca. again, looking at it, the openness of the regulations that you need to follow to go through that program are limited to what we try to do here on tribal lands. it's tough. you open that up to very low usage of that funding available. it's limited. i think we can open it up and get more consultation on how to utilize those funds a lot easier
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for tribes to be able to thrive. >> ok. thank you. my time has expired. perhaps we can export that more later on here. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you to this great discussion. i'm proud to represent 27 tribal communities in the state of nevada. let me start with the federal home loan investment. there are 11 government sponsors that we know as the federal home bank. they are required to meet the affordable housing and community developing needs of the communities of the state that they serve. my question to the panel members, how many times, to your knowledge, have received
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investment from the federal home loan bank program like the community investment program or the community investment cash advance, or the affordable housing program. i'm curious to know the data here. maybe we can start with you. are you familiar with any of this money going to any tribal communities for housing? >> thank you for asking that. federal home loan bank has reached out to get native representation from senator smith, chief benjamin. he will be serving on that board. they've had limited outreach as well to see if i technical organizations. in general, i don't know if i can answer the question on how
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many. it has been very limited outreach. if you look at the potential of the federal home loan bank, it has two different areas. one is on being able to reassure liquidity to banks. there's a lot of native american banks that could benefit from that. on the others if it, if you look at their plans, they are not addressing the real needs of indian country. just meeting with the cfi technical advisor is not enough. it doesn't go to the understanding of tribal issues and the needs that tribes are faced with. bringing up the 502 program is a great example of the creativity of a program to be able to adjust to a member's income and lower the interest rate. it's also the ability to get direct funding for relenting into communities. all these things are possible in they should serve as models for the capital market and not as a substitute. i think that's really important. the federal home loan bank, in
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providing some of the priorities for the thank and the plans for their bank, in being able to address indian country needs, it has not acted in that direction. the other thing that they can do is they have a lot of grants that could go out to tribal communities. they are going out to serve housing needs in the same way. not really using the tribal governments and their role in providing housing to their citizens. 700 or $800 million is not finding its way to reassure the capital markets or bring housing into native communities. >> thank you. the only reason why they reached out to senator smith -- they had not reached out to you prior to that? >> it's fair to say yes, they have not been actively reaching out until recently.
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>> gap. it's what i'm finding is well when i engage in my region. the reason i bring it up is because this is such an important issue. one of the areas that i'm focused on -- in 20, there was a report on the low income housing activities at the federal home loan banks. there was only one restaurants to investment. only the des moines bank offered a program, a native homeownership initiative. this is the reason i'm bringing it up. we feel the same way. we've got to do a better job here. because of this, i introduced legislation which would strengthen the ability for banks to invest in communities. my bill includes a 2% set-aside for tribes. this is an area that we have to focus on. i look forward to more
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conversations on this issue. thank you for this great hearing. >> thank you so much. welcome. >> thank you so much, madam chairman for holding this hearing. i will focus my questions on the economically disadvantaged native americans in my state. that includes a substantial number of the members of the eastern shoshone tribe in wyoming, on the wind river reservation. as you know, the lakota at pine ridge. there are issues that relate to housing that really do affect their financial and personal well-being. i want to start with some questions about how the census
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may have inaccurately counted, because it is so difficult, the number of native americans and how many are living in h household. if you have an eight american household where there are multiple generations, there are extra workers, they are trying to keep everybody housed, perhaps in housing that is smaller than would normally be considered in the united states as adequate for that many people, then the senses comes along and maybe they are reluctant to discuss how many people are living in their household. question number one. is the senses an issue? is it contributing to
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undercount? >> i want to categorically say yes. the idea that tribal communities are consistently undercounted in the census is pretty significant for the amount of funding that goes to tribes. the reluctance for tribal citizens to contribute to the census has always been an issue. this past census is going to have a severe impact on that because of the pandemic and because of the idea that a lot of tribes are embroiled in their areas. this information needs face-to-face. that hasn't been done as adequately in the last census. it's an important issue. the reluctance in higher households. it's important that we get an
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accurate count and i'm not sure were doing that at this. >> thank you. i would also offer with what was just said. native americans are at risk of being discounted for two important reasons. first, the american community survey doesn't include information about tribal enrollment. it can make it difficult to understand how housing challenges might vary across tribes. it's less useful for program implementation then it could be. it means that the population measured in the census data is not directly comparable to population measured in a tribal census, for example. the second challenge is that native americans are vulnerable to undercounting. that is driven by higher likelihood of renting, lack of infrastructure, phones, trust in
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the federal government, access to broadband, things like that. the census bureau but -- estimates that the senses count was about 4.9%, substantially higher than black americans at 2.1%. it's a very important question. >> thank you. if you have some thoughts about concrete steps we can take to address this, i would love to have you submit them in writing. that's to any of our business -- witnesses. i have a question for mr. shepherd. data is showing that calls to 911 around the most economically disadvantaged native american areas come from native americans that don't have reliable housing. is it reasonable to assume that we can reduce the strain on our
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local public safety agencies by improving native american housing? >> of course. that takes me back to the reauthorization. we want to recommend, if the opportunity arises, -- we continue to join with most other tribes to advocate that the reauthorization modify the existing 30%. if the country fails now to address the plight of indian housing, it would be a disaster. for hundreds of thousands of native people who suffered so greatly with overcrowding and substandard housing. >> yeah. it was a big issue in wyoming during covid. we learned a lot during covid
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about some of the soft underbelly of our supply chains, certainly on our reservations. housing was a big issue. there was an incident i will tell you about on the wind river reservation. an indigent native american person was exhibiting symptoms of covid. but he was in a park, in a city. they had to take into the indian health service in the back of a pickup because there were inadequate medical service providers. an ambulance that was subject to sterilization from covid. we learned so much during covid. this is yet another area where we've got a lot of work to do.
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mr. ranking member and madam chair, i want to thank you once again for holding this hearing. thank you very much witnesses. i yelled back. >> thank you so much. i think we have time for another round of questions. i know that the senators were trying to get back for other committees. let me go to my question. i want to follow up on this usda loan pilot program that was mentioned. i'm going to direct this to you. you mention this in your testimony. the usda program offers single-family home loans to low income rural households but only about 2.6 of these loans go to native families. we established a pilot program
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in north and south dakota where they could use their community-based networks to deploy these usda mortgages. could you talk to us about what we've learned from this? what impacts? i'm looking at ways we can expand this pilot nationally and i would love to hear your thoughts on where we think we should go from here. >> thank you. i mentioned that i think some of the federal loan programs that are designed to provide mortgage financing, the difficulty of providing those loans on tribal lands are present across multiple programs. that's the case with the 502 program. the pilot lending program provides a promising example of the way in which they can be leveraged to serve more customers. in that example, you can see lending increasing.
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the total number of loans, 17 loans in one year versus 11 loans in the prior 11 years. you can see the power of the network. in that instance as well, it provided financial instigation -- information to make the program more successful. there are promising examples there. there are broader systemic issues that we talked about earlier around issues relating to land, use of trust land. lender knowledge of lending on trust land. i think that's another avenue that continues to be an area of opportunity to look for solutions. >> thank you. thanks so much. let me direct this broadly to the panel. as i listen to your testimony today, you raised a number of practical and clear issues and
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ideas for where we can go from here. let me ask each of you if there's anything more that you would like to say. what is the single most important thing we could do to address this lack of access to a forte of a housing, good quality housing that is such a deep challenge? >> if i may start. this is a really interesting question. it gets to the idea that the housing situation is becoming worse in indian country are more challenging. we need to change the way were doing things. taking a holistic approach, the incentives are not lined up to have the capital markets come in. i would love a question. i was tuned into the banking hearing yesterday.
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the idea that the community reinvestment act was passed last year, now it's on hold. what are those banks doing to serve indian country? they are squarely in their assessment area. what are their plans? most of the banks don't have plans on addressing indian country and they have no intention of doing that. we need to line the incentives of the capital markets to do this in indian country. the community reinvestment act, the way that has lined up, it gives indian country as a distressed area the incentive that banks need to come in. multiples are applied to doing business in indian country so they can meet their cra qualifications there. they also have the ability to invest in the banks that have learned to deal with indian country. they also can do equity and investment that supports cfi's. those kinds of incentives, when
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you're lining it up, that kind of structure is really what we need on the incentives side. the support from the federal government in dealing with this one house at a time for the usda program is good to show banks away. but when we are looking at this, a title vi program, shows the most promise because that program allows the tribe to leverage funds and develop housing developments instead of one house at a time. we should be supporting that and the other infrastructure to that -- that goes with it. supplementing that program on the community development brought grams we are to -- we are leveraging. tribes are still having trouble getting banks to come in and support that. that shows that it's not just the incentives. there has to be education on the banking side. they would love to have 95% guarantee but there's not always the education internally with
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the branches in the banks themselves to deal with indian country. looking at where the incentives are, the role of the government in doing development, and looking at bringing the capital markets and is really going to be instrumental in solving this in a general way instead of looking at it one house at a time. >> thanks. my time is up. i appreciate that very much. i look forward to following up on that conversation. i think it is very important. >> thank you. thanks for holding this hearing. we've been called to a vote. we will probably have seven minutes left before the vote terminates. i will be brief. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being with us today. on the 184 program, we made some changes. we have worked on this in the
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past. we partnered together on the native american affordability act. it was signed into law. our legislation made it easier for borrowers on tribal trust land to participate in the 184 program by allowing them to issue certificates that guarantee without waiting on the trailing documents from the bia, we may not have any evidence yet it all on the success. i was hoping that perhaps there might have been some sort of an uptick in lending. do you know anything about whether or not there has been any uptick at all based on the changes made? >> not yet. not that i've seen.
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for us in new york, we were limited on the agencies that offered the program. at one point, we had nobody available to us. we had applied recently, three years ago, working with a company that was told that new york state refused to do it. we do have a couple companies that we are working with right now in new york city. it's a different issue. the lend issue we have a new york state versus other tribal areas. it will need tweaking that we have to do to make sure that we can get that program running. we are working with one of the lending agencies now to do that. >> ok. thank you very much. i'm curious.
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have you heard or seen anything regards to the changes that we've made? >> we have not. that's an area that we would love to work with other data on these programs so that we can continue to monitor and track. >> great. thanks. i know that we are pressed for time on this. i will yield back. thanks for holding this. this is something we want to address. if it was easy, it would've been done along time ago. a lot of intricacies on it. the challenges that we face. this is something that i think can make a difference for individuals that really could use some help.
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thanks. i will yield back. >> thank you so much. thank you to all of our witnesses for being a part of this committee hearing today and for providing your testimony. i want to note that both senators serve on the indian committee. we have an opportunity to work on these issues. i know we've been listening hard around issues with the ideas that you've offered today. questions are due one week from today which will be thursday, june 3. for all of our witnesses, you have 45 days to respond to any questions for the record. thank you again. with that, this hearing is adjourned. >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] ♪ >> if you choose to research the origins of a topic being discussed frequently in the united states in recent months
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called critical race theory, you will find the name derek bell. lot professor bell died in 2011. he was one of the principal originators of this much discussed subject. in november of 1992, derek bell appeared on book notes to discuss his book. >> derek bell on this episode of book notes plus. listen at or wherever you get your podcasts. >> the house is back on monday and will work on the $3.5 trillion budget resolution which passed in the senate earlier this month. members are also expected to take up a bill to restore
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provisions of the 1965 voting rights act. according to speaker pelosi, the house may also debate the infrastructure bill. first votes are expected for 6:30 p.m. eastern. watch gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house of representatives on c-span. ♪ this afternoon, u.s. capitol


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