Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announced the approval of $5 million to fund five homeownership development grants for federally recognized Tribes to further homeownership opportunities for Tribal members. This is the first time OHCS has had funding specifically set aside for Tribal homeownership development.
Prior to the start of the application process for these grants, OHCS met with Tribal representatives to understand their community’s homeownership needs. Based on feedback from the Tribes, two types of funding awards were created: One to fund homeownership development projects that increase the supply of affordable homes for purchase and the other for non-construction projects that lead to increased homeownership opportunities.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week at the Nixyáawii Neighborhood in the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, OHCS Director Andrea Bell said she looks forward to continuing to partner to ensure that more Tribal members can own homes in their communities.
“OHCS is moving beyond words to take intentional steps toward honoring self-determination in directing resources and additional capacity to our Tribal partners across the state,” said Director Bell. “It is our responsibility and honor to continue to build these relationships and find ways to improve pathways to housing and homeownership for Tribal members. Thank you to the Tribal leaders and members for your ongoing advocacy, presence and contributions.”
Three applicants will receive a total of $474,715 to support 20 Tribal households either to purchase a home or make necessary repairs to maintain their home.
The rest of the funding will go toward two homeownership development projects that will lead to the creation of 27 new homes for purchase on land on the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde Community of Oregon and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation development, called the Nixyaawii Transformative Homeownership Project, will use the $3 million in awarded funds to build 21 new affordable homes with two or three bedrooms for parcel leaseholders on the Nixyáawii Subdivision, a fully developed tract of 42 parcels that is shovel-ready.
“The state of Oregon is definitely showing their support to the Umatilla Reservation community with the $3 million for homeownership development and the $300,000 for down payment assistance awarded just a few months ago,” said Dave Tovey, executive director at Nixyáawii Community Financial Services. “Tribal members have the opportunity to not just own a home but to be a homeowner on the reservation, a dream that has been unattainable for most. The vast majority of Tribal members I’ve worked with want to live on the reservation, in their community, but have to settle for off-reservation after realizing limited or non-existence of affordable homes to purchase on the Umatilla Reservation.
“It’s exciting to see all of this come together with the Nixyaawii Neighborhood ready for homes to be built, receiving the development grant so we can start building homes to sell and the additional down payment funds to help reduce the expense of purchasing a new home.”
A full list of Tribal homeownership development projects approved for funding can be found on the OHCS website.