Oweesta Corporation Certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Native Homeownership Network
Longmont, CO – Oweesta announces the certification of the Native Homeownership Network as a national housing counseling network under HUD. Launched in 2019, the Native Homeownership Network is the only housing counseling network comprised exclusively of Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and Native non-profits seeking to increase homeownership on tribal lands, reservations, and urban environments across the United States. As a HUD-approved agency, the Network has the accreditation, financial support, and technical knowledge to further strengthen housing development in Indian Country.
“The HUD certification is a testament to the unwavering and groundbreaking work the Native Homeownership Network is achieving in the housing market,” said Heather Rademacher Taylor, Director of Programs. “COVID presented several unforeseen challenges and many of us had to shift priorities and focus on the dire needs of our communities. The Network members still upheld their commitment and pooled their resources to become the first and only housing counseling network dedicated exclusively to Native homeownership. We believe that protecting the livelihood of Native people includes promoting homeownership on Native lands.”
Only 53% of Native Americans are homeowners compared to the 71% of white households who own homes. Oweesta’s role as a national intermediary in Indian Country has always been grounded in addressing emerging needs around economic development of Native communities. As disparities in access to mortgage capital have continued to stall homeownership opportunities for Native families, the Network was established with the goal of organizing, training, and certifying a new cohort of housing counselors living in and advancing Indian Country. The ten organizations part of the Network are poised to expand their services and capabilities through increased homebuyer education, one-on-one housing/financial counseling, and financing. Already, the network has provided homebuyer education and housing counseling to over 1,000 families, helping create a movement toward homeownership in Native communities.
“We are the first peoples of the 50 states, yet a national HUD intermediary dedicated to our communities has been elusive for too long. This accomplishment is the result of two years of work, of collaboration among Native organizations all around the country that are doing the hands-on work of housing counseling in our communities. The achievement is for everyone in Indian Country,” said Robin Puanani Danner, Oweesta Board Vice Chairperson and member of the Native Homeownership Network. “Mahalo to the Biden Administration, to HUD Secretary Fudge, the incredible team at HUD for working with Oweesta Corporation to bestow certification as a national HUD counseling intermediary, and to the Network’s partners and supporters.”
The partnership behind the Network was made possible thanks to the generosity and vision of several partners and funders. NeighborWorks Montana coached the Network through the two-year process of becoming certified. Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, American Express, and NeighborWorks America financially supported the initiative, which helped provide subgrants for Network members for their housing programs, training and exam preparation, and in some cases, to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The Native Homeownership Network will focus efforts on expanding the network by inviting more organizations to join, sustaining existing programs, and narrowing the housing gap by creating more Native homeowners.
The Native Homeownership Network member organizations are:
|Four Directions Development Corporation (FDDC)||Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)|
|Hawaiian Lending & Investment (HLI)||Tiwa Lending Services (TLS)|
|Lakota Funds||Warm Springs Community Action Team (WSCAT)|
|Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial (MOOF)||Wisconsin Native Loan Fund (WINLF)|
|NACDC Financial Services (NACDCFS)||White Earth Investment Initiative (WEII)|
To learn about joining the Native Homeownership Network, contact:
Heather Rademacher Taylor
Director of Programs