Tester backs bipartisan bill to improve Native American housing opportunities
Senator’s bill aims to reduce homelessness in Indian Country
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is backing a bipartisan bill to increase access to safe, affordable housing throughout Indian Country.
Tester’s bill reauthorizes a 1996 law that provides critical housing assistance to Native American communities. The bill increases Indian communities’ access to low-income housing tax credits and streamlines approval of affordable housing construction.
Tester today heard testimony on his bill at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing. A recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report found that Native Americans make up eight percent of the nation’s homeless population, while making up less than one percent of the overall U.S. population.
“Housing is a basic need, and reducing homelessness is key to strengthening Indian Country and strengthening Montana’s economy,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “This bill empowers tribal leaders to put resources where they’re needed so that Indian communities can provide the safe housing that all Montana families deserve.”
Tester’s reauthorization bill must pass both chambers of Congress and be signed by the President before the 1996 law expires on September 30.
Tester recently announced that Montana will receive more than $300,000 to provide housing opportunities to homeless veterans, which tribes can access as part of the Native American housing bill.
Tester’s bipartisan reauthorization bill is supported by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).