Bipartisan Legislation Heads to President’s Desk as Part of Congress’ Year-End Appropriations Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/22/20]—Two bipartisan bills led by U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) to help Tribes combat homelessness and to help Native families become homeowners are headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law as part of Congress' year-end appropriations package. 

The Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Act—led by Sen. Smith and co-led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)—will make Tribes eligible to apply for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s homeless assistance funds through the Continuum of Care program. While Tribal leaders in Minnesota and across the country have been working diligently to address housing insecurity in Tribal areas, Tribes and Tribally designated housing entities have been unable to access these HUD resources to combat homelessness.

The Native American Housing Affordability Act—co-led by Sen. Smith and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)—will reform the HUD Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program to make it easier to secure a mortgage on Tribal trust land. 

“The passage of these two bipartisan laws will make improvements along the continuum of housing on Tribal lands in Minnesota and across the country,” said Sen. Smith, a member of both the Senate Indian Affairs and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committees. “The bipartisan Native American Housing Affordability Act will remove red tape that slows down loan processing time to promote homeownership and create opportunity for Native communities. And the Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Act will help Indigenous leaders combat housing insecurity in their communities by making Tribes eligible to apply for federal assistance.”