Sacramento, CA – Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire’s legislation, SB 18, which would create the first-ever dedicated tribal housing grant program in California, cleared the Senate with bipartisan support last week. The critical legislation addresses the historic and desperate need for tribal housing across the state.
Native American communities continue to face the long-standing impacts of historic genocide and discrimination. The numbers don’t lie:
- Native Americans are disproportionally represented among California’s homeless population.
- Tribal communities see higher rates of poverty and overcrowded and substandard homes compared to any other population in the Golden State.
- One third of tribal residents live below the federal poverty line, and approximately 9% of tribes in California have homes that lack complete plumbing and 7% lack complete kitchens.
This is simply unacceptable.
SB 18 would create a tribal specific housing fund which would fund construction and rehabilitation of homes for rent and sale, specifically for tribal communities. The bill would also provide technical assistance to help tribal governments navigate the complex web of regulations and requirements that often hinder tribal housing projects.
“Tribal communities face a staggering housing crisis which is rooted in historic genocide and racism, underinvestment and lack of eligible funding. To truly fix this public health crisis that exists in so many California tribal communities, the State must move with speed in partnership with tribal leaders to establish an exclusive tribal housing program with dedicated infrastructure funding. That’s why we’re working hand-in-hand with tribal leaders from across the Golden State to move SB 18 forward,” McGuire said.
Despite the clear need, the overwhelming majority of tribes have been unable to access existing state housing program funds. Pre-existing funds are often too restrictive and bureaucratic for tribes to meet the threshold and compliance requirements, and many of the requirements are mismatched compared to the needs that exist on tribal land.
Only 13 out of 109 California tribes have been awarded state funds over the last several years.
SB 18 would address the severe housing shortage that exists on tribal lands by creating a new and separate housing program for tribal governments, specific to tribal needs, and designed in consultation with tribes.
SB 18 is supported by: The Yurok Tribe, Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley, Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria, Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Karuk Tribe Housing Authority, Manchester Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, Round Valley Indian Housing Authority, among many others. The bill is co-authored by Senators Bill Dodd and Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.