Assistance for Tribal Homeowners: Treasury’s $9 Billion Fund
Under the Biden-Harris administration, significant progress has been made in Indian Country through the passing of several bills. One of the major areas of focus has been the development of broadband infrastructure in Tribal communities. The federal government has invested millions of dollars in this area, with the goal of increasing access to high-speed internet in these communities. This is particularly important as access to the internet is not only crucial for educational and economic opportunities but also for the access to important information and services such as healthcare, telemedicine, and emergency services.
In 2022, the Treasury Department reported that it had dispersed over $9 billion through the Homeowner Assistance Fund to state, territorial, and tribal governments. This fund is designed to provide relief to homeowners who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Secretary Yellen made history by visiting the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This marked the first time a U.S. Treasury Secretary had ever visited a Tribal nation. During her visit, Secretary Yellen had the opportunity to hear firsthand about the challenges faced by tribal citizens, such as the high rate of poverty, unemployment, and inadequate housing, and discuss potential solutions to these issues.
Furthermore, the American Rescue Plan, which was passed by Congress in 2021, allocated $20 billion in State and Local Fiscal funds to Tribal governments. This funding is intended to help tribal communities recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and support their ongoing development. This includes funding for essential services such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure development. The Biden-Harris Administration also created an Office of Indian Affairs in the White House, which will focus on coordinating policy and initiatives that affect tribal nations and indigenous peoples, and will serve as a direct liaison between the White House and tribal leaders.
Overall, the Biden-Harris administration has demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing the needs of Indian Country and investing in the long-term prosperity of Tribal communities. They have taken important steps to improve infrastructure, provide economic relief, and create opportunities for education, healthcare and employment for the Indigenous people of America.