Homeownership in Indian Country: Creating the Opportunity for Choice

Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership

The Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership is a comprehensive guide to creating diverse housing choices for Native communities and to understanding the lending process in Indian Country, particularly on trust lands. Expanding affordable homeownership is a central component to sustainable economic and community development. Yet on many reservations, homeownership remains an unexplored option.

The vision for the Handbook came from tribal leaders to serve Native communities. The Handbook provides essential information for planning, financing, and implementing housing projects that will help tribal leaders, tribal citizens, lenders, and government agencies create new housing opportunities and spur economic growth for the entire community.

We believe good information is the key to making informed decisions. The Center for Indian Country Development and its National Native Homeownership Coalition are pleased to share this resource as a blueprint to transform the landscape of Indian housing and Native economies.

National Native Homeownership Coalition (NNHC)

Housing options are a key element to dynamic community development and economic growth. Yet despite a strong desire on many American Indian reservations to own a home, homeownership is not always readily available. Tribal policies and codes are needed to support homeownership on tribal trust lands. 75% want to ownThere is also a need to make the financial resources for mortgage lending more accessible to tribal members to improve homeownership opportunities and expand reservation housing markets.

The CICD established the National Native Homeownership Coalition (NNHC) in 2016 to enhance homeownership opportunities in tribal communities, especially on trust lands, by bringing together key players and systems leaders in order to resolve barriers to homeownership on trust lands.

The NNHC is at the forefront of these efforts, with its five working groups extensively engaged with tribal housing programs, federal agencies, housing organizations, and lenders.

Making homeownership a priority

Tribal leadership provides the critical foundation for homeownership to flourish within their homelands. Several tribes have developed well-coordinated legal, financial, and physical infrastructures to support homeownership opportunities within their communities. The following video shows how the Confederated Tribes of Salish and Kootenai on the Flathead Reservation in Montana have made homeownership a priority for the community and created a successful housing market.

How the Confederated Tribes of Salish and Kootenai Made Homeownership a Priority on the Flathead Reservation in Montana

NNHC Goals

The NNHC has identified the following goals:

  • Enhance access to mortgage credit
  • Maximize housing choice
  • Streamline the lending process
  • Provide data and research on mortgage lending

These goals originated from the 2016 Mortgage Lending Convening, a historic gathering to evaluate Indian Country’s access to mortgage lending markets. Our findings were startling—since 2005, lending on fee land has diverged widely from lending on trust lands. For example, 88% of lending is on fee land, with only 12% on trust land under Indian Country’s most popular mortgage product, the HUD 184 Loan Program.

Through collaboration and partnerships, with its 200 members, the NNHC is addressing the underlying issues in order to improve the competiveness of mortgage lending on trust land.

List of NNHC Member Organizations

Working Groups

  1. Tribal Leadership Support
  2. Lending Systems
  3. Data and Research
  4. Homebuyer Readiness
  5. Capital and Secondary Markets

Learn more about NNHC Working Groups

Subscribe to NNHC Communications

NNHC Progress

The Coalition regularly shares a progress update on the goals of each working group. Please see the links below to learn more.

NNHC Mid-Year Updates

SMART Goal Tracker