The housing affordability crisis, brought on by the steady increase of rental-housing costs surpassing the growth rate for incomes, has impacted millions of people across the country. One of the groups most affected is Native Americans.
According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), more than 20 percent of Native Americans and spend 30 percent or more of their income toward rent. To combat high rental prices, many families bunk together. About one-third of all Native American households are overcrowded as stated by the NCAI. Additionally, a disproportionate amount of the Native American homes are in poor condition. The NCAI asserts that 40 percent of housing on reservation lands are substandard, and 16 percent of these homes lack indoor plumbing. The need for high quality, affordable housing for Native American communities is evident, and agencies on tribal lands, like the Fort Peck Housing Authority (FPHA), are working to solve the problem.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTION
Determined to improve the quality of life on the Fort Peck Reservation located in Montana, the FPHA set forth a plan to create a 276-acre master development plan, which includes over 100 single-family homes as well as retail and commercial developments. Fort Peck Sustainable Village is the first phase of this development.
The Fort Peck Sustainable Village provides 20 new homes to low-income residents who make no more than 60 percent of the area’s average median income (AMI). These homes mark the first affordable and environmentally sustainable housing apartment community, built to LEED standards, for families in Montana. The homes boast green building features such as Energy Star appliances, water conserving fixtures, and LED exterior and interior lighting. Focusing on community involvement and connectivity, the development also offers residents a variety of amenities including a community center, warming hut, and basketball courts.
In 2013 FPHA submitted an application to the Montana Board of Housing (MBOH) for low-income housing tax credits to help subsidize the construction costs of Fort Peck Sustainable Village. MBOH approved an allocation of $6,470,000 in federal low-income housing tax credits in April 2013. Over the next two years, FPHA put together an experienced development team. FPHA worked with Integrated Solutions, the economic development organization for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, to develop the project. Integrated Solutions partnered with a housing consultancy firm, Travois, Inc., for LIHTC expertise. The Make It Right Foundation was also brought on as the architect and general contractor. Focusing on community involvement and connectivity, the development also offers residents a variety of amenities including a community center, warming hut, and basketball courts.
Once the development team was assembled, the focus turned to finance. FPHA selected Hunt Capital Partners to syndicate the LIHTCs and provide the equity for the development of the Fort Peck Sustainable Village. The transaction closed in February 2015, with construction beginning immediately after. All units were completed by December 2015.
ABOUT FORT PECK
The Fort Peck Reservation is the second largest reservation in Montana and is located near the Northeastern border of the state. Spanning over two million acres, it is also home to both the Sioux and Assiniboine nations. The Fort Peck Indian Agency, which is responsible for the Fort Peck Reservation and its tribal members, was founded in 1871. Today, over 10,000 tribal members live on the reservation and its nearby lands.
20 unitsTotal Project Cost
$6.0 millionProject Amenities
Energy Star appliances