Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in introducing the Native American Housing Affordability Act of 2019. This bipartisan legislation reforms the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program, which provides mortgage loans to Native Americans and Alaska Natives, by speeding up the loan processing time.
“Buying a home is an important step toward building wealth and security for one’s family. Yet this step is often delayed or denied for Native Americans seeking to purchase homes on Indian trust land,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This legislation would temporarily bypass a backlog at the Bureau of Indian Affairs that prevents lenders from extending HUD-guaranteed loans to these individuals in a timely manner. I’ll continue working to ensure that families living in tribal communities have the same opportunities as any other family to become homeowners.”
U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) also cosponsored the legislation.
The HUD Section 184 program guarantees mortgage loans for Native American borrowers. As part of the lending process, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provides title information about ownership of tribal land before HUD issues a certificate of guarantee. However, because it can take the BIA months to produce trailing documents to HUD, many prospective buyers give up and abandon the process.
The Native American Housing Affordability Act will speed up that process by allowing HUD to guarantee a loan without waiting for trailing documents from the BIA, as long as the lender indemnifies HUD. It also issues a series of findings about the Section 184 program and requires HUD to report on efforts the government is making to accelerate the processing time for Section 184 loans, including why processing times are or are not improving.