HUD Senior Official Discusses Housing in Native Villages
Housing issues are on the minds of many Alaskans, with higher costs and lower inventory of available homes affecting communities from Barrow to Ketchikan.
In mid-August, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman visited Alaska to discuss the housing supply needs for Native Alaskans across the state.
HUD Funding Comes to Alaska
In a press release following her visit, HUD announced it had awarded nearly $285 million in funding to tribal entities in Alaska over the past two years.
Alaska will be eligible to apply later this year for additional HUD funding that will be made available for tribal entities across the country.
That includes $129 million through the Indian Housing Block Grant Competitive Program, which can help with affordable housing projects, as well as $92 million through the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program, which can assist in housing rehabilitation and other housing infrastructure projects.
Understanding Alaska's Unique Needs
“From innovations around constructing homes in cold climates, to working with the realities of building in remote communities with restricted construction windows, the Alaskan housing community are true innovators,” Deputy Secretary Todman said in the press release. “HUD’s job now is to improve upon the resources and technical assistance we provide and make sure it’s working as efficiently as possible for the communities who need them.”
The Deputy Secretary met with state leaders and housing partners at the Alaska Housing Innovation Summit. In an effort to get a first-hand vision of the housing challenges in remote villages, she then visited the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, where she met with tribal and housing authority leaders in Bethel. Finally, she went by boat to the villages of Oscarville and Napakiak to meet with tribal leaders in their homes.
Bryan Butcher, AHFC’s CEO/Executive Director, had an opportunity to meet with the Deputy Secretary and discuss housing situations in rural villages. In the press release, Butcher noted the significance of Deputy Secretary Todman making a trip to remote locations, “...communities outside of Anchorage, inaccessible by road and each with unique challenges and opportunities.”