Tester Secures Critical Resources for Blackfeet Reservation

Senator Announces $1.6 Million for Affordable Housing, $48,000 for Blackfeet Community College

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured nearly $1.6 million to help build and maintain affordable housing for families living on the Blackfeet Reservation and $48,000 for the Blackfeet Community College Library to improve early reading opportunities.

Tester’s announcement comes after he met with U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and pushed him to increase resources for Montana’s tribes. Tester met with Blackfeet Tribal College President Dr. Billie Jo Kipp earlier this year to discuss funding at Montana’s Tribal College and Universities.

“Every family deserves a roof over their head, a warm place to sleep, and an opportunity to seek a quality education” said Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Access to safe, affordable housing gives families the stability they need to thrive in the classroom and launch successful careers. These investments will ensure more Blackfeet families have that opportunity.”

The affordable housing grant comes as part of the HUD’s Indian Housing Block Grant Program. The Blackfeet Community College grant comes as a National Leadership Grant for Libraries.

“Blackfeet Housing applauds Senator Tester’s recent support with assuring that interim funding was awarded to Blackfeet Housing in the amount of $1,500,000.00,” said Chancy Kittson, Executive Director of Blackfeet Housing Authority. “Interim funding is vital to Blackfeet Housing’s ability to continue housing services to the Blackfeet Reservation. Thank you, Senator Tester for your continued support in Indian Country.”

The grant for Blackfeet Community College will help the Blackfeet Tribal College Library collaborate and create an environment to support new reading initiatives.

Tester helped pass a Senate Resolution to dedicated National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week earlier this year and he is sponsoring legislation to recruit more teachers to Indian Country.

Tester has been a longtime champion for the Blackfeet Tribe. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he fought to secure an additional $101 million in funding for similar grants, as well as resources to fight the opioid epidemic, and resources to put toward the Blackfeet Water Compact.

Tester also secured a grant to help renovate dozens of low-income, affordable rental homes across the Blackfeet reservation, as well as a grant to help support cultural heritage at Blackfeet Community College.