Background on the National American Indian Housing Council
The NAIHC was founded in 1974 and for over four decades has provided invaluable Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) to all tribes and tribal housing entities; provided information to Congress regarding the issues and challenges that tribes face in their housing, infrastructure, and community development efforts; and worked with key federal agencies to ensure their effectiveness in native communities. Overall, NAIHC’s primary mission is to support tribal housing entities in their efforts to provide safe, decent, affordable, and culturally appropriate housing for Native people.
The membership of NAIHC is comprised of 255 members representing 478 tribes and tribal housing organizations. NAIHC’s membership includes tribes and groups throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Every member of this Committee serves constituents that are members of NAIHC. Our members are deeply appreciative of the consistent leadership this Committee provides in Congress related to issues affecting tribal communities.  There are 567 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages in the United States, all of which are eligible for membership in NAIHC. Other NAIHC members include state-recognized tribes eligible for housing assistance under the 1937 Housing Act and that were subsequently grandfathered in under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the state agency that administers the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program.
 There are 567 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages in the United States, all of which are eligible for membership in NAIHC. Other NAIHC members include state-recognized tribes eligible for housing assistance under the 1937 Housing Act and that were subsequently grandfathered in under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the state agency that administers the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program.
Our MissionTo effectively and efficiently promote and support American Indians, Alaska Natives and native Hawaiians in their self- determined goal to provide culturally relevant and quality affordable housing for native people.
Profile of Indian Country
There are 567 federally-recognized Indian tribes in the United States. Despite progress over the last few decades, many tribal communities continue to suffer from some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the United States. Historically, Native Americans in the United States have experienced higher rates of substandard housing and overcrowded homes than other demographics.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported in the 2015 American Community Survey that American Indians and Alaska Natives were almost twice as likely to live in poverty as the rest of the population—26.6 percent compared with 14.7 percent. The median income for an American Indian Alaska Native household is 31% less than the national average ($38,530 versus $55,775)
In addition, overcrowding, substandard housing, and homelessness are far more common in Native American communities. In January of this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published an updated housing needs assessment. According to the assessment, 5.6 percent of homes on Native American lands lacked complete plumbing and 6.6 percent lacked complete kitchens. These are nearly four times than the national average, which saw rates of 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The assessment found that 12 percent of tribal homes lacked sufficient heating.
The assessment also highlighted the issue of overcrowded homes in Indian Country, finding that 15.9 percent of tribal homes were overcrowded, compared to only 2.2 percent of homes nationally. The assessment concluded that to alleviate the substandard and overcrowded homes in Indian Country, 68,000 new units need to be built.
Since NAHASDA was enacted, tribes have built over 37,000 new units according to HUD. However, as the IHBG appropriations have remained level for a number of years, inflation has diminished the purchasing power of those dollars, and new unit construction has diminished as tribes focus their efforts on unit rehabilitation. While averaging over 2,400 new unit construction between FY2007 and 2010, new unit construction has dropped in recent years with only 2,000 new units between 2011 and 2014, and HUD estimating less than 1,000 new units in future years as tribes maintain existing housing stock.
NAIHC services to its members and the general public include:
- Advocacy for housing opportunities and increased funding for Native American housing and community development programs;
- Training in many areas of Native housing management;
- On-site technical assistance for Native housing professionals; and
- Research and information services related to Native housing issues and programs.
The NAIHC Chairwoman
Sami Jo Difuntorum
Sami is a member of the Kwekaeke band of Shasta, is serving her second term as Chairwoman of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC). Ms. Difuntorum has been employed as the Executive Director of the Siletz Tribal Housing Department since 2010 and previously worked for a Tribally Designated Housing Entity in California for 16 years.
Her experience in tribal housing includes providing testimony to Congress during the reauthorization of the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), representing the National American Indian Housing Council at the first tribal leader meeting with the White House, membership on the Formula Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, and Region VI representative to the NAIHC Unexpended Funds Workgroup.
Ms. Difuntorum served on the NAIHC Board of Directors and the Southwest Indian Housing Association Board of Directors, representing Region VII, prior to her relocation to Oregon in 2010. Since that time she has served as co-chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Housing Committee, Chair of the NAIHC Legislative Committee, and is currently the Vice-Chair of the Northwest Indian Housing Association.
NAIHC is supported by member dues and fees, government, foundation, association and private grants
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