Wealth Building Program Promotes Native Homeownership in South Dakota

The program connects tribal communities with resources to help households in some of the nation’s most underresourced reservations access homeownership.

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January 23, 2023, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Wooden roadside sign "Entering Pine Ridge Indian Reservation" with mountains in background

Sopotnicki / Pine Ridge Reservation

A new initiative created by five South Dakota Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) aims to help Native people overcome the unique challenges they face when trying to buy homes. As Bianca Gonzales reports in Smart Cities Dive, “In addition to Lakota Funds, the initiative includes Lakota Federal Credit Union, Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, Sicangu Wicoti Awanyakapi Corporation and Tatanka Funds. The five financial institutions are providing communities in the Rosebud Reservation with trainings on the homeownership process and becoming stewards over their finances.”

While “The section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program was designed specifically for American Indian and Alaska Native families in 1992 to facilitate homeownership and increase access to capital in Native American Communities.” However, the complicated nature of mortgage lending on reservation lands has led to low numbers of loans on tribal land. “The Rosebud Reservation is a credit desert, which adds an additional barrier for its communities.” The program, the Rosebud Homeownership and Wealth Building Initiative, uses creative solutions including a ‘Rolling Res Bus’ to bring resources to the many small, geographically dispersed tribal communities in the region.

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