Tester Hosts Housing, Education Secretaries in Montana

Senator Applauds Announcement of New Jobs-Stimulus Funding

(BILLINGS, MT)  – After a series of meetings in Billings and in Montana’s Indian Country with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Education Secretary Arne Duncan and state and local leaders, Senator Jon Tester praised the announcement of new Jobs-Stimulus funding for Montana.  Donovan and Duncan traveled to Montana at Tester’s request.  Governor Brian Schweitzer also joined Tester and the secretaries on their tour of eastern Montana.

Donovan announced new funding from the Jobs-Stimulus Bill Congress passed earlier this year.  Specifically, Montana will benefit from today’s announcement of $242.25 million for the Native American Housing Block Grant and $10 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant nationwide. 

“This funding is good news for Montana,” said Tester, who serves on the influential Senate Appropriations Committee.   “I’ve been glad to introduce Secretary Donovan and Secretary Duncan to many of my Montana friends and neighbors.  I appreciate their traveling to Big Sky country to learn for themselves about what rural really means for Montana housing and education.”
Tester and Schweitzer traveled with Donovan and Duncan to Busby and Lame Deer to meet Northern Cheyenne tribal members. Tester and Schweitzer accompanied Donovan on a tour of housing projects on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.  Later, they joined Duncan for a listening session with parents, teachers, students, and community members at Lame Deer High School.  After the housing tour and education listening session, Tester, Schweitzer, Donovan, and Duncan were presented with traditional Northern Cheyenne headdresses and quilts as a symbol of friendship.

Tester and Schweitzer joined Duncan on his visit to Broadwater Elementary School to help celebrate the school’s 100th birthday. The group met with the school’s students and wished the school a ‘Happy Birthday.’

The group finished the day by hosting a meeting for Montana’s eight tribal leaders to talk about the challenges facing Indian Country.

Yesterday, Tester convened a meeting with Secretary Donovan and Montana’s leading housing advocates, providers and state officials to discuss the state’s unique housing challenges and opportunities.  Participants voiced concerns over the lack of resources for low-income housing, the critical need for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and the HOME Investments Partnerships Program (HOME).  Sec. Donovan committed to an ongoing dialogue to work through the ongoing issues of providing quality affordable housing in rural and frontier America.