WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $4,500,000 to the Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo de Cochiti, and Ohkay Owingeh under the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program (ICDBG).
ICDBG provides direct grants to support development in Tribal communities, which include safe and affordable housing and access to economic opportunities.
“Safe, well-built housing and infrastructure are the building blocks for strong, healthy communities, and this major funding will help improve housing for Native communities across New Mexico,” said Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “As we continue to adapt our lifestyles to keep everyone healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, safe and reliable housing remains vitally important for Tribal communities. Tribes have fought for safe and reliable housing for decades, and although more is needed, this funding represents a step in the right direction to improving the housing availability for Tribes in New Mexico. We must provide Native communities across the country with strong and steady housing funding to uphold the federal government’s trust responsibility to Tribes. I will continue my fight in Washington to ensure that Tribes across New Mexico and throughout the United States receive the housing funding they need.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to improve housing quality for our tribal communities as they have faced increased hardships with little or depleted access to critical resources like water or power,” said Heinrich. “That is why I am proud to support this funding that will help tribal communities improve the quality of affordable housing and provide maintenance on faltering water and power infrastructures during these difficult months. I will continue doing everything in my power to fight for the resources tribal communities need for a strong public health response that is rooted in science and to build a broad economic recovery in all of our communities.”
“The importance of safe and affordable housing cannot be overstated – especially during a public health crisis that has required many families to stay home. We know that Native communities have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am glad that this funding will go toward bolstering housing and economic opportunities for Tribal nations,” said Luján. “As we address the COVID-19 pandemic and push for additional relief, I will continue working alongside my colleagues and Tribal leaders to ensure Tribal nations receive the support and housing resources they need.”
“Affordable housing access is a necessity to keep communities healthy through social distancing and avoiding contact with large groups, but the housing shortages that existed in Native communities long before this pandemic puts them at increased risk of spreading coronavirus to their loved ones. I know folks who live in multigenerational housing and don’t have the privilege of social distancing or keeping their family members and elders away from those infected because housing is so hard to come by. The federal funding for housing grants will be a step towards increasing housing availability as we continue our fight to ensure the federal government lives up to its trust responsibility to provide adequate funding for basic resources,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.
“As we continue to address challenges from COVID-19 together, it is more important than ever for New Mexicans to have safe and affordable housing. I’m proud to share that the Pueblo of Acoma will receive $1.5 million to support new, critical housing infrastructure projects, and I will continue to work with our tribal governments to make sure Tribes and Pueblos have access to sufficient federal funding and resources available during this difficult time,” said Torres Small.
The Pueblo of Acoma Housing Authority is using the award to construct new sewer lines, electric conductors, gas lines, water lines and fire hydrants for a new housing development. Pueblo de Cochiti will use the grant to construct seven new single-story homes. Ohkay Owingeh plans to rehabilitate 24 homes across the community, including 3 adobe homes that are over 400 years old in the historic Owe new Bupingeh plaza.
The full breakdown of the $4,500,000 grant funding is below:
- Pueblo of Acoma, $1,500,000
- Pueblo de Cochiti, $1,500,000
- Ohkay Owingeh, $1,500,000