Senator John Hoeven brought U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to Grand Forks and the Spirit Lake Reservation to see local housing projects and give the region’s officials and service providers the opportunity to provide direct input on HUD’s programs as well as to discuss local needs and opportunities to make more effective use of federal funding.
During the visit, Hoeven highlighted innovative efforts in the state that he has helped advance to provide comprehensive support to families and individuals at-risk of, or working to escape, homelessness. This includes:
· The LaGrave on First project in Grand Forks.
· Tribes’ work at Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain to combat homelessness among veterans using the Tribal HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.
· Programs to benefit affordable housing efforts across the state, for which Hoeven is working to ensure strong support as a member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee.
“As people work to secure permanent housing, they can face a myriad of challenges, including a shortage of affordable homes, and in some instances, accessing behavioral health treatment and furthering their education,” said Hoeven. “That’s why efforts like LaGrave on First and HUD-VASH are so important, because in addition to providing a safe place to live, they help individuals access the services they need to achieve long-term success. Secretary Carson’s visit gives him the opportunity to see the good work our local housing authorities are doing with the support of federal programs, and we appreciate his willingness to hear from our service providers firsthand.”
LaGrave on First
LaGrave on First is a recently-opened, $9 million housing and supportive service facility developed by the City of Grand Forks and the local housing authority. Hoeven worked with Carson to secure a waiver for the project.
As chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Hoeven is advancing bipartisan legislation he introduced with Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to help ensure Native American veterans have access to housing and health care services.
The bill would make permanent the Tribal HUD-VASH program, which provides rental assistance and supportive services to homeless and at-risk Native American veterans, including those on the Spirit Lake, Turtle Mountain and Standing Rock reservations.
At the same time, Hoeven’s legislation would set aside at least five percent of HUD-VASH resources for tribes and tribal housing authorities, providing stability to their efforts to address veteran homelessness. The bill would also ensure that HUD and the VA modify the initiative through tribal consultation to better guide these newly-available resources to homeless Native American veterans.
In addition, Hoeven worked through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure the state’s housing authorities receive the support they need to serve those facing homelessness. To this end, the senator has helped maintain funding for the following federal programs:
· HOME Investment Partnership Program – Provides block grant funding to states and localities to support a wide range of affordable housing activities, including construction, building rehabilitation and rental assistance. North Dakota received more than $3 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding under the HOME program.
· Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDGB) – Supports affordable housing, services for vulnerable populations and job creation through economic development. The programs’ recent allocations for North Dakota and tribes in the state included:
o State of North Dakota – Nearly $4 million.
o Spirit Lake – $800,000.
o Fargo – $760,623.
o Grand Forks – $430,442.
o Bismarck – $376,992.
· Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) – Helps advance housing development, supportive services and crime prevention and safety in tribal communities and on Indian reservations. Hoeven helped secure nearly $200 million under this program in FY2019 for competitive grants to improve tribal housing, which comes in addition to the program’s formula funding.