‘A sign of hope’: Tribes awarded $47 million in state tribal homeless housing funds

Four North Bay tribes will receive a total of $4.56 million to support homeless tribal members, as well as the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, which will get $1.9 million to begin construction on a homeless housing project in Hopland.|

Sixteen California tribes will receive homeless housing funds from the state, totaling $47 million, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

The grants ― $20 million from the U.S. Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency and $27 million for Homekey awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development ― will fund homelessness projects for 16 tribes and 75 homes for members of four tribes, including homeless youth.

Four North Bay tribes will receive a total of $4.56 million to support homeless tribal members, as well as the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, which will receive $1.9 million to begin construction on a homeless housing project in Hopland.

Those tribes benefiting include the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians in Santa Rosa, the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo, the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria and the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake.

The grants contribute to the state’s goal of getting people off the streets into safe housing “with a particular focus on Native Americans and populations disproportionately impacted by homelessness,” said Newsom in a news release.

Last fall, the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians received over $2.5 million to buy the shuttered Economy Inn in Santa Rosa for homeless tribal members.

For the Habematolel Pomo tribe, a federally recognized tribe in Upper Lake, the funds Newsom just announced are “much needed,” said Sherry Treppa, adding that they will help address the tribe and community’s "very real and serious issues of homelessness and housing insecurity.”

That said, they only received a portion of what’s needed, Treppa said, meaning they will need to scale back on a project to rehabilitate a house and ten cabins, two of which have already been completed with the intent to supplement 70% of the monthly rent for tribal members based on the market price.

Nonetheless “we are honored” and “grateful” Treppa said. “We recognize that by working together as sister-sovereigns, we can better the future for all.”

The Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority, a tribal housing entity serving a consortium of seven federally recognized tribes in Northern California, will also receive $1.9 million for construction and operation of four permanent affordable homes for chronically homeless individuals in Hopland, a project which has been in the works since 2015.

Now that the state has opened the door for tribes to access Homekey grants, one of the state’s most successful homelessness programs allowing public and tribal entities to purchase existing buildings or manufactured homes, more than 140 homes have been funded in partnership with tribes.

It is “like a beacon,” said Moriah McGill, the housing development construction manager for the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority.

“This is finally an opportunity it’s a sign of hope that now we can partner with the state and we can actually build homes together,” McGill said.

You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-526-8511 or alana.minkler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @alana_minkler.

Alana Minkler

Breaking news & general assignment reporter, The Press Democrat

The world is filled with stories that inspire compassion, wonder, laughs and even tears. As a Press Democrat reporter covering breaking news, tribes and youth, it’s my goal to give others a voice to share these stories.

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