Johnson seeking solutions to Indian housing problemsU.S. Sen. Tim Johnson is working with several departments to help alleviate the housing crisis in South Dakota’s Indian Country.
By: News release, Office of Sen. Tim Johnson
U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson is working with several departments to help alleviate the housing crisis in South Dakota’s Indian Country.
Johnson, D-S.D., the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, recently met with federal officials responsible for Indian housing, infrastructure and community and economic development, including Housing and Urban Development, Indian Affairs, Public and Indian Housing, Rural Development at the Department of Agriculture and management operations for the Indian Health Service.
“It is also important that we collaborate and leverage existing resources to provide housing in these tough economic times,” Johnson said during the meeting. “These resourceful ideas are not meant to free the federal government of its treaty and trust responsibility. Rather, these ideas should serve as another avenue for us to work together to address the housing crisis facing Indian Country.”
Johnson said he’s heard “horror stories” regarding delays in approving leases and how these delays have impacted housing construction and economic development.
Johnson noted that “meaningful tribal consultation is key” to ensuring the department’s studies accurately reflect the true housing needs in Indian Country.
He said the Census Bureau reported in 2008 that American Indians are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty than the rest of the nation and that 46 percent of Indian households are overcrowded.
According to a 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Indians make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population but constitute 8 percent of the homeless population, Johnson said.