fedgazette

Reducing homeownership costs through subsidies

Jacob Wascalus

Published October 10, 2018

Lowering the costs associated with home purchases can help low- and moderate-income tribal members increase the odds of successfully buying and maintaining ownership of a home. Here are a handful of programs that offer grants and other forms of assistance to prospective home buyers.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLBDM) offers subsidy products for affordable housing through its Affordable Housing Program. This includes a competitive grant program available to nonprofits and governments, including Native American tribes, tribal housing authorities, and Native CDFIs, for the purchase, construction, or rehabilitation of affordable housing.

These grants are available for both homeownership and rental projects. The maximum grant award is $750,000 and up to $40,000 per unit of housing. FHLBDM also provides grants for down payment and closing costs for low- to moderate-income home buyers through member financial institutions. Products include the Native American Homeownership Initiative, with grants of up to $10,000 per household. More information is available here under Affordable Housing Products.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs administers the Housing Improvement Program, which offers American Indians and Alaska Natives grants for a range of housing needs, including interim improvements, repairs and renovation, replacement housing, and new housing. More information is available here.

Many state housing agencies offer low- or no-interest assistance to first-time home buyers to help cover closing and down payment costs, while tribal governments themselves may offer grants to help subsidize home purchase costs. Foundations are another source of funding.

For a more comprehensive resource on homeownership in Indian Country, including strategies for lowering costs through subsidies, see the Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership, recently published by the Center for Indian Country Development of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the National Native Homeownership Coalition, and Enterprise Community Partners.

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