September 29, 2017

Hawaii Senators Introduce Bill to Reauthorize Native Hawaiian Housing Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) through 2022. NAHASDA provides federal housing assistance and housing loan guarantees for Native Hawaiians. Additionally, the legislation helps provide safe and affordable housing for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, and helps address an urgent need for housing assistance in Indian Country. 

“Our bill will help break down some of the long-standing barriers native families, including Native Hawaiians, face when trying to find safe, affordable housing,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “We must continue to find more ways to support our native communities, and fighting for housing is an important part of that work.”

“NAHASDA has helped thousands of Native Hawaiian families through housing assistance and loan guarantee programs, and we must ensure that NAHASDA is fully authorized for Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives, and Native Americans,” said Senator Hirono. “I thank Senator Udall for his leadership and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation.”

 Congress has repeatedly recognized the United States’ special trust relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, a relationship analogous to that between the United States and American Indians and Alaska Natives, and the United States’ responsibility for the welfare of those communities. Congress amended NAHASDA in 2000 to create a new Title VIII, Housing Assistance for Native Hawaiians, which authorized the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant and the 184A Native Hawaiian Home Loan Guarantee program. These programs have assisted thousands of Native Hawaiians through the support of housing development, housing counseling, access to capital, and home rehabilitation, among others. This bill is also cosponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.).