Affordable Housing for Native Americans

Native Americans in tribal areas have some of the most urgent affordable housing needs nationwide. In total, 57 percent of Native American households in tribal areas are burdened by the cost of housing, or live in housing with poor conditions or overcrowding. Housing on tribal land is 4 times more likely to have plumbing or kitchen appliance deficiencies and 120 times more likely to have heating deficiencies compared to housing elsewhere. Additionally, sixteen percent of households in tribal areas live in crowded conditions, compared to two percent nationwide.

While the one in five Native Americans living in tribal areas have lower incomes than Native Americans living in urban areas, nationwide Native Americans have twice the overall poverty rate (23 percent compared to 11 percent nationwide), and a median household income of just $45,000, compared to nearly $66,000 for the overall population. As a result of lower incomes and the shortage of affordable housing, 23.5 percent of Native American renters spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, leaving little leftover for other necessities.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is a key solution to help address the vast and growing need for affordable homes for our nation’s indigenous people. Since 1986, the Housing Credit has served as our country’s primary tool to finance the production and preservation of affordable housing, resulting in nearly 3.5 million affordable homes. Broadly supported, bipartisan legislation would expand and strengthen the Housing Credit, helping us to ensure all Native Americans have access to safe, stable and affordable housing.

Hear from Native Americans who live in Housing Credit properties, see support from members of Congress, and explore examples of affordable housing for Native Americans across the country below.

18%

of American Indian or Alaska Native households are extremely low-income renters, compared to 6% of white renters

40%

of on-reservation housing is considered substandard, compared to 6% outside of Indian Country

68,000 more

affordable homes are needed per year to address the housing deficits in Indian Country

Native American Resident Stories

Stories and photos courtesy of Travois

Residents of Karuk Homes #1

Yreka, CA

Residents of Southwood Estates Phase II

Mayetta, KS

Property Spotlight: Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung

In Minnesota – where 2 percent of the population is Native American, yet Native Americans represent 22 percent of all homeless youth – Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung (“Good New Home” in Ojibwe) provides 42 homes and supportive services to formerly homeless Native American youth between the ages of 18 and 24. It is a first-of-its-kind project that fosters a place of healing and resources to establish self-determination for residents as young Native people.

Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung won a 2020 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Housing for Other Special Needs Populations Category. Read more about Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung here, and see recognition from members of Congress in Minnesota below.

Native American Affordable Housing Quotes (2)

Support from Co-Chairs of the

Congressional Native American Caucus

How the Housing Credit Serves

Native Americans and Tribal Communities

TOKA Homes III

Tohono O’odham Nation, AZ

White Earth Reservation

White Earth, Minnesota

Sokaogon Supportive Services

Crandon, WI

Dunlap Pointe

Phoenix, AZ

Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung

St. Paul, MN

Fort Peck Homes II

Wolf Point and Poplar, MT

Warm Springs Homes

Warm Springs, Oregon

Encanto Pointe

Phoenix, AZ

Southwood Estates Phase II

Mayetta, KS

Karuk Homes

Yreka, CA

White Mountain Apache Housing

Fort Apache, AZ

Pueblo of Acoma

Pueblo of Acoma, NM

How can we serve more Native Americans and tribal communities?

The Housing Credit is the nation’s primary tool to finance the development of affordable housing, so any effort to address the growing affordable housing crisis must include an expansion of the Housing Credit. By expanding and strengthening the Housing Credit, we could provide safe, stable, affordable homes for more low-income households across the country, including Native Americans.

The recently updated version of the House Build Back Better reconciliation legislation includes historic investment in the Housing Credit that could provide nearly 812,000 additional affordable homes over the next decade. The Housing Credit measures include a proposal to provide a permanent 30 percent basis boost for properties in Indian areas. The AHTCC urges Congress to pass these key Housing Credit production provisions through the final reconciliation bill.

The Housing Credit production proposals in the updated reconciliation bill stemmed from the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) of 2021, which is the AHTCC’s highest legislative priority. In total, the AHCIA could provide over two million additional affordable homes. The bill is supported by over half the House of Representatives and 30 Senators.

Special thanks to Travois for consultation on this webpage.