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Rural Innovation Fund
WASHINGTON - Twenty seven American Indian tribes or tribal communities in 10 states have been awarded a total of $15.6 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development 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 (see list of Native American service area grants below). Native American communities or tribes received 55 percent of the $28 million in national rural housing funds that Donovan announced today as he was joined by tribal leaders in New Mexico.
"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."
Donovan added: "Nationwide, the poverty rate for American Indians is more than twice the average for all non-Indians, making economic development particularly crucial in these communities."
For example, the Atmautluak Traditional Council in Alaska will train a construction workforce in green, energy-efficient new construction. The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin will create a visitors center to promote tribal businesses and provide a venue for the work of local crafts and tradespersons. Walking Shield, Inc. of California will locate and redirect surplus military houses on the Malmstrom Air Force Base to the Rocky Boy Indian reservation in Montana, creating jobs in the process.
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.
HUD awarded Rural Innovation Fund grants in three categories nationwide, and Native American tribes or entities were competitive in all three categories:
posted August 24, 2011 7:30 am edt
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