Alaska Tribes and Native Villages get $8M HUD grant for housing

Photo: Creekview Plaza 49, 1400 Muldoon Road, Anchorage, AK

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Fourteen Alaska Tribes and Native Villages were competitively awarded a total of $7,960,594 in Indian Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In a press release from HUD on June 18th, officials say the funds will be used to preserve and expand housing stocks, stimulate economic and address community development priorities. The grants include $600,000 for Cook Inlet Housing in Anchorage.

Below is a list of the tribes and how much money they are being awarded:

KTUU spoke with Carol Gore, President/CEO of the Cook Inlet Housing Authority about the grants.

What do the funds mean and how will they are used?

Cook Inlet Housing deploys Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) funds to support the development of affordable housing, which in turn helps to catalyze additional community investment by businesses and private developers in the neighborhoods where we work. The ICDBG funds will be used for pre-development work, from acquisition to planning and design. These funds allow for development in our community that might not otherwise happen.

This current ICDBG grant will be used for acquisition, planning, and design related to the redevelopment of blighted property in Spenard. We currently have ~40 rental apartments (scattered through “middle Spenard” in duplexes and a multifamily building) and our plans allow for the development of an additional ~70 apartments at a variety of sites in the neighborhood.

How many ICDBG grants has CIHA received?

CIHA has previously received two other ICDBG grants. The ICDBG grant is a competitive award from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), administered by our local Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) office, and takes a significant investment of time and expertise to craft a winning application.

One of our previous ICDBG grants were used in the redevelopment of Creekside Town Center off of Muldoon and DeBarr in east Anchorage. That grant was used for acquisition, planning, and design to create Creekview Plaza 49, a two-building affordable rental housing development for seniors in our community.

What is the benefit of ICDBG funds to the community?

Alaska suffers from a lack of affordable housing. Developing housing of any kind in our state has significant financial challenges which makes it particularly difficult to build rental housing that offers true affordability to residents. ICDBG funds help to relieve some of those financial pressures and results in the creation of housing that can be supported by reduced/affordable rent structures. Hard-working individuals and families with low and modest incomes and retired elders on fixed incomes benefit the availability of affordable housing in our community.

When will you use the money?

CIHA has up to two years to deploy the ICDBG grant funds. As with many business transactions, there are a lot of moving pieces and partners to coordinate. In the case of real estate acquisition, planning and design, there are legal issues, offers and counteroffers, procurement and competitive bidding that take considerable time and due diligence. The team is already hard at work getting agreements together so the redevelopment work can begin and new housing opportunities can be built.

Gore went on to say the goal with the grant is “to be the catalyst for investment in the neighborhood.”

“We want to take a housing development approach to investing in a neighborhood using a community lens,” Gore said.

The ICDBG Program was established in 1977 to help Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages meet their community development needs. Federally-recognized Indian tribes, bands, groups or nations (including Alaska Indian, Aleuts, and Eskimos), Alaska Native villages, and eligible tribal organizations compete for this funding each year.

The ICDBG Program supports a broad range of housing and community development activities including:

-Housing rehabilitation and land acquisition to support new housing construction, and under limited circumstances, new housing construction.

-Infrastructure construction, e.g., roads, water and sewer facilities, and single- or multi-purpose community buildings.

-Wide variety of commercial, industrial, agricultural projects, which may be recipient owned and operated or which may be owned and/or operated by a third party.

In all, $63,144,132 in funding is going to Native American communities across the U.S.

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