Murkowski, Schatz: Amendment to Advance Native American Housing Programs Adopted By Senate

Bipartisan Defense Authorization Bill Amendment Would Reauthorize Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act

U.S. Senators U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Committee, released the following statements on Senate passage of their amendment to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA). A standalone NAHASDA reauthorization bill led by the senators had previously cleared the Committee unanimously.

“I’m pleased the Senate has overwhelmingly agreed to add our amendment to reauthorize and reform the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act to this year’s NDAA. In my home state of Alaska and in Native communities across the country, housing shortages and overcrowding are plaguing families, particularly as they try to overcome rising interest rates, rents, and construction costs. I thank my Senate colleagues for supporting this amendment, as well as the many tribal leaders and organizations who have long supported this important bipartisan legislation. We will all be working hard, together, to ensure this remains part of the final NDAA negotiated with the House of Representatives,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski.

“NAHASDA is a critical housing law for American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives,” said Chairman Schatz. “This amendment is an important win for Native communities to address their urgent housing needs. NAHASDA reauthorization has gone through regular order and been well-studied for years. I thank Vice Chairman Murkowski for her partnership in moving this priority forward through Committee and now the full Senate.”

The bipartisan amendment builds on Native American housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development authorized by NAHASDA, including the Indian Housing Block Grant and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant programs. Bills that would reauthorize NAHASDA have been introduced in every successive Congress since 2013. 

Organizations supporting the amendment include the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the National Congress of American Indians, the National American Indian Housing Council, the United Native American Housing Association, the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities, and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands.

“We want to thank Alaska’s Congressional delegation for their tireless advocacy on behalf of Alaskan families to reauthorize NAHASDA. We know Senator Murkowski worked hard in her role as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, with her colleague Chairman Schatz, to get this amendment through. Senator Murkowski has been a supporter of NAHASDA and all housing related issues before the national COVID crisis exposed the entire country to the need for safe, sanitary and affordable housing,” said Colleen Dushkin, Executive Director of the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities.

“We sincerely thank Senator Murkowski and Senator Schatz for getting this through the gates. This is a huge step for Indian Country and we are thankful for their continued support and effort for the passage of NAHASDA,” said Viola Yatchmeneff, Executive Director of the Aleutian Housing Authority.

“CIHA thanks Senator Murkowski and the entire Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for their hard work on this legislation. With the Senator’s support and leadership, and that of Chairman Schatz, we are so close to reauthorization of NAHASDA for the first time in almost 14 years. Native families who need safe and affordable places to call home are so much closer to their dream today because of Senator Murkowski and Senator Schatz’s hard work, and we are grateful,” said Gabe Layman, President of the Cook Inlet House Authority.  

“NAHASDA is public policy at its most effective and versatile. TNHA is thrilled to see the Senate pass the reauthorization amendment weeks after hosting Senator Murkowski for a tour of a NAHASDA-assisted housing development in Point Lay, a village where three-quarters of homes are considered overcrowded. We are immensely grateful for her leadership of efforts to help affordable housing providers empower, build and sustainable vibrant self-determined tribal communities across Alaska and the U.S. for generations to come,” said Griffin Hagle-Forster, Chief Executive Officer of the Ta?iu?miullu Nunamiullu Housing Authority.

“We rally in support to get NAHASDA Reauthorization pushed over the finish line. The Senate’s vote was a step forward and a historic achievement with record high Senate support for an Indian bill. We are grateful for the hard work of the Committee and especially for the leadership and personal attention from our own Senator Murkowski. Reauthorization of NAHASDA is a critical step in supporting Indian Country’s efforts to address essential housing needs of their communities,” said Jackie Pata, President/CEO of the Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority.