The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded the Seneca Nation Housing Authority a grant of nearly $2.5 million. The grant is for a broad range of affordable housing activities through HUD's Indian Housing Block Grant Program.
According to the block grant application by the SNHA, funds will be used to rehabilitate substandard housing units and to install accessibility to disabled households. The money will also help fund the construction of nine new homes and possible infrastructure for a housing development project.
Also planned is offering closing cost assistance on mortgages for Seneca members who wish to purchase homes within New York state. Finance and maintenance classes will be offered to current and potential residents.
Nationwide, HUD is awarding $563 million to 353 American Indian and Alaskan Native entities.
"Hardworking American families in tribal communities should be able to live in communities where they have a fair shot to reach their potential," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said. "The resources provided today will give these tribal communities the tools to maintain quality housing, prevent overcrowding, improve public safety and provide other basic building blocks of security and success."
The SNHA also plans on using funds to install fences, lighting and speed bumps, as well as surveillance systems at various buildings to beef up area security. The plan also includes creating a fire-safe room at the Cattaraugus elder's facility and installing 40 new storm and entry doors at the Allegany elder's facility.
Block grant funds primarily benefit families living on reservations or in other Native American communities who don't have the financial resources to maintain good homes, schools or other key contributors to economic security.
The amount of each grant is based on a formula that considers local needs and housing units under management by the tribe or designated entity.
The block grant approach to housing was established by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996.