By Keli James, PR communications coordinator

President Barak Obama proposed increased funding for the Indian Housing Block Grant program— $650 million to $700 million —in the Administration’s fiscal housing for native Americansyear 2017 budget. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) expressed to Congress that the need for the additional allocation is because of the “overwhelming need for adequate, decent Indian housing.”

According to HUD, “the lack of housing and infrastructure in Indian country is severe and widespread, and far exceeds the funding currently provided to tribes.”

The $700 million block grants will fund approximately 369 Tribally designated housing entities, from among 567 Tribes in 34 states.

During the last 12 years, the organization noted that the number of low-income families in the IHBG formula areas grew by 41 percent; the number of overcrowded households, or households without adequate kitchens or plumbing, grew by 21 percent; and the number of families with severe housing costs grew by 55 percent.

It is estimated by HUD that, “this level of funding would allow IHBG recipients to build, acquire, or substantially rehabilitate 5,065 affordable units in fiscal year 2017. Recipients will also operate and maintain approximately 40,000 older affordable units, which were funded by programs authorized under the United States Housing Act of 1937.”