(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced bipartisan legislation this week aimed at helping Native American veterans achieve homeownership.
The Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act would reform the Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and improve the marketing of the program—making it more accessible to Native American veterans living on trust land. Specifically, it would allow Native American veterans to use the NADL program to refinance any other existing mortgage on the same property, and create a relending program to allow Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to obtain loans through the NADL program and relend those funds to qualified Native American veterans. The bill would also expand the VA’s existing NADL program outreach to include collaborating with local service providers to offer homebuyer education and housing counseling to Native American veterans who are looking to qualify for mortgage financing.
“Native Americans serve our nation at the highest rates, so there’s no question that we’ve got to keep expanding resources to help them access safe and affordable housing here at home,” said Tester. “Our bipartisan bill will do just that by offering additional services and support under the Native American Direct Loan program that’ll connect more Native Veterans and their families with the tools they need to buy, build, or fix up homes on our tribal lands.”
“Homeownership is part of the American dream and a key to building wealth,” said Rounds. “This legislation would improve the Native American Direct Loan program and enhance outreach and other assistance as needed to Native American veterans seeking to qualify for mortgage financing. By creating expanded access to Native American veterans, our bill would help make the dream of homeownership a reality.”
“For the first time ever, thousands of Native Veterans will be able to access the resources needed to build and buy homes on Trust lands,” said Bob Gauthier, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Tribal Member. “Thanks to Senator Tester, we have taken a monumental step in ensuring Native Veterans are given the support they need.”
“The National American Indian Housing Council supports the Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act and thanks Senators Rounds and Tester for taking the lead to bring more homeownership opportunities to American Indian, Alaska Native and native Hawaiian veterans. Many of our brave veterans are unsheltered or living in overcrowded or substandard homes. That is not honor. Native veterans deserve access to affordable housing,” said National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) Chairman Thomas Lozano and Tribal Councilman for Enterprise Rancheria. “The Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act would open the VA's Native American Direct Loan for refinancing and support tribes, tribal programs and Native CDFIs in helping veterans become homeowners. NAIHC encourages our allies in the Senate to support Native veterans and their families and co-sponsor or support the bill.”
Full bill text can be found HERE.