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PINE RIDGE—HUD has announced it will give $1.1 million in an Indian block grant to the Oglala Sioux Tribe to help improve housing conditions, and stimulate community development on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The first-of-the-year in housing funds—from a competitive block grant system, won by a single tribe—will help Pine Ridge start new construction projects, and provide vitally needed jobs on a reservation known nationally for its poverty-stricken families.

HUD’s ICDBG grants encourage state tribes to invest in professional grant-writing teams if they hope to compete with other tribes for predetermined portions of taxpayer funding.

Tribes deemed noncompetitive or late in their submissions are believed to be less in need of new housing than those who present strong competition, according to a former grant writer.

“Every family deserves the chance to have a decent home, economic opportunity and vibrant neighborhoods to call their own,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro in announcing the Pine Ridge award and winners in other states.

Of South Dakota’s nine potential winners of the ICDBG, the grant-approval federal review board evidently saw Pine Ridge as a viable candidate worth the $1.1 million investment, and the most competitive, by proof of submission.

“The ICDBG Program is an important investment to address affordable housing, infrastructure, and economic development challenges for Native tribes in the Rocky Mountain Region,” said HUD Region VIII Regional Administrator Rick Garcia. “It is an important resource that helps strengthen economic growth and expand opportunity and of the region’s tribal communities.”

ICDBG program was established in 1977 to help Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages with community development needs, and to compete for this funding.

“The goal of the ICDBG program is to develop viable Indian and Alaska Native communities, including decent housing, suitable living environments, and economic opportunities,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Lourdes Ramírez.

Oglala Sioux Housing Authority (OSLH) has proposed to use its $1.1 million grant to rehabilitate 61 exteriors, 139 roofs, and reverse meth damage to 21 units, a project tribal youth call Típí Síam Wasté. Renovation will improve energy efficiency and restore overall health to homes and prevent black mold. Based on units targeted for meth testing, OSLH proposes to renovate 21 units over next two years at $8,000 per unit.

HUD administers six programs specifically targeted to American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian individuals and families, and federally recognized tribal governments.

Through Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, HUD will provide, starting under President Barack Obama, more than $718 million to fund programs, supporting housing and developing initiatives in Indian Country.

By means of innovative programming, many tribal governments have managed to create sustainable and community-driven solutions to their own housing and community development challenges.

Two of the nearest winners of HUD’s recent ICDBG funding are:

NEBRASKA: Northern Ponca Housing Authority (NPHA) is receiving a $1.1 million grant to rehabilitate 93 rental housing units in the NPHA service area. Funds will be used to: replace or repair floors, furnaces, appliances, windows, railings, decks, and roofs; upgrade electrical systems; upgrade drainage; remodel or modernize kitchens; remodel bathrooms; complete foundation work; repair plumbing systems; install retaining walls; and paint units’ exteriors and interiors.

NORTH DAKOTA: Spirit Lake Tribe will be using its $900,000 ICDBG to rehabilitate 20 owner-occupied housing units on scattered sites across Spirit Lake Reservation. Spirit Lake deems the project worthy enough that it is committing $300,000 of its own funds as leverage for this project.


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