On March 12, 2024, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced new legislation to expand housing access for rural tribal communities: the Tribal Rural Housing Access Act. The legislation would direct the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to set aside 5% of certain Rural Housing Service (RHS) funds for Tribal Nations, tribally designated housing entities, tribal members, and tribal-owned entities, including Native community development financial institutions.

Senator Warren noted that her bill would “not cost the federal government extra money but would help fulfill the trust and treaty obligations the federal government has neglected for too long, building on legislation introduced by other members of the Committee to address the housing crisis in Tribal communities.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to Senator Warren for her unwavering dedication to Indian Country and her collaborative approach to developing and introducing the Tribal Rural Housing Access Act. The inclusion of a 5% set-aside for tribes, Native CDFIs, and other Native-led entities across key rural-focused USDA programs represents a pivotal step forward in addressing the housing needs of Native communities. This legislation not only recognizes the unique challenges faced by our communities in accessing affordable, quality housing, but also ensures that federal resources are allocated equitably to support our solutions to address those challenges. This legislation underscores Senator Warren’s longstanding commitment to advancing economic empowerment and prosperity across Indian Country, and we look forward to partnering with her to successfully advance it through Congress,” said Pete Upton, CEO of the Native CDFI Network.

For more information about the contents of the proposed legislation you can view the official press release as well as the transcript and recording of the hearing where Senator Warren raised the bill.

NCN encourages our Native CDFI members to contact your state representatives and urge them to cosponsor the bill.