Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced March 19 that nine Oregon tribes will receive more than $10.5 million in affordable housing grants under the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Warm Springs Confederated Tribes will receive $1.06 million.
Warm Springs Housing Authority Executive Director Danielle Wood said the housing block grant will help with the housing needs in Warm Springs.
“Warm Springs Housing Authority was excited with this new opportunity, and we are exploring how best to use these funds to house our people,” she said.
She will meet with her board in the near future for their final direction, but their plan will include adding more units and bringing current units up to standard.
“This pandemic has really shown the overcrowding and what it does for our people,” Wood said. “That’s why we’ve been hit so hard. The lack of housing inventory in Warm Springs and Tribal members’ desire to remain in the area near family has created overcrowding multigenerational living in many homes. So, we’re working to get bigger units, more units, and fixing up the units we’ve got.”
Like the rest of the region, there is a huge need for housing in Warm Springs. Wood is working on creative ways to allow families to live close together.
Wyden said tribes in Oregon have been rocked by COVID-19.
“Affordable housing is a must to keep community members safe during this pandemic and beyond,” Wyden said. “I’m proud to have helped pass the American Rescue Plan to provide these vital resources and more that recognize tribal communities and communities throughout our state continue to need assistance now to weather this public health crisis and its economic fallout.”
The housing block grants under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will be distributed as follows:
Warm Springs Confederated Tribes, $1.06 million
Burns Paiute Tribe, $104,915
Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Confederated Tribes, $645,994
Coquille Indian Tribe, $810,330
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe, $668,660
Grand Ronde Confederated Tribes, $1.94 million
Klamath Tribes, $1.06 million
Siletz Confederated Tribes, $2.86 million
Umatilla Confederated Tribes, $1.38 million
“It’s clear that this pandemic has hit Black, Brown, Native and low-income communities the hardest, and made existing problems—like the growing affordable housing crisis—even worse,” said Merkley.
“That’s why it was so important to me and my colleagues that the American Rescue Plan include the resources that local communities, including tribal communities, need to make sure that everyone has access to a safe place to call home,” Merkley said. “I will continue to do all that I can to work alongside tribal leaders to build on this progress throughout, and after, the coronavirus crisis, while also supporting tribal sovereignty and self-determination.”
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