Hidden Crisis: Homelessness on the Reservation

Poverty and evictions among Native Americans are an underreported part of the national homelessness crisis. Often, homeless families stay as long as they can in the dwellings of family and friends.
July 5, 2017, 12pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Homelessness on Native American reservations, like that of the Yakama Nation in Washington, doesn't receive much attention. Lauren Dake writes, "Perhaps this is because homelessness on reservations looks different than elsewhere, and often doesn't mean living outside, according to a study by [HUD]. It is more common for people to move in with others, often relatives, crammed into a single home."

According to Tony Walters of the National American Indian Housing Council, "Communalism was an important cultural value for many Native Americans, though this did not diminish the scale of the problem. 'It’s almost like people don't think of it, like it's a given in these communities."

With tribal housing already scarce, possible Trump administration budget cuts may push the situation even further. "Since the mid-1990s, a federal program has helped fund tribal housing for sovereign tribes, and many now rely heavily on it to build, manage and repair tribal housing projects."

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Published on Monday, June 12, 2017 in The Guardian
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