The Center for Indian Country Development, a nonprofit unit of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, published a “how to” handbook last year to boost homeownership and mortgage finance on reservations. Now the Center is turning that handbook — Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership — into an online curriculum. If it’s a reflection of the handbook, it will act as a guide to new mortgage programs (government and private), as well as new kinds of lenders (loan funds, Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs)), and more initiatives that are transforming Indian housing.
As Patrice Kunesh, director of the Center for Indian Country Development of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, writes in her Note From the Director this week:
“What’s really motivating me now is the dynamic and diverse cohort of Tribal housing practitioners and advocates in the room who have come together to build a web-based curriculum around the Center’s Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership. We and our partner Enterprise Community Partners are committed to not just asking probing questions about what it would take to build more housing opportunities and improve lives in Native communities, but also to taking action to make it really happen.”
The Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership and forthcoming online resources are designed to be used by Tribal leaders, mortgage lenders, state and federal government agencies, and housing advocates. The book describes successful housing developments at several Tribes. It also touches on land issues, barriers to lending, home design, leasing, and other facets of the complicated process of homeownership on Indian reservations.
The handbook essentially answers two key questions:
- What would it take to build new communities, and remake old ones, so reservations move more decisively toward economic development that benefits tribal members?
- What financial and governance strategies could most effectively overcome barriers to these goals?
A video created by the Center for Indian Country Development highlights a Native communities meeting the demand for homeownership: The Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes: