NAIHC Statement on President Obama Signing the HEARTH Act into Law

Monday, July 30, 2012 - Washington, DC

The National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) Chairwoman Cheryl A. Causley released the following statement on President Obama signing into law, HR 205, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act earlier today.

"NAIHC is thankful to Congress for passing and to President Obama for signing the HEARTH Act into law today. The measure supports and promotes tribal self-governance and tribal government control over the effective use of their tribal lands. This new law has the potential to change the face of leasing on tribal lands - it's a huge step in the right direction," said Chairwoman Causley.

The law amends the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955 to reform federal leasing requirements and encourage housing and community development in Native American communities. The Act will authorize interested tribes to negotiate and enter into certain surface leases without approval of the Secretary of the Interior. 

"Timely processing of lease documents is critical, for not only tribal housing, but also for federal loan guarantee programs. Lease approval from the Secretary is time-consuming and a contributing factor to the low homeownership rate in Native communities. The HEARTH Act will offer capable and willing Indian tribes the authority to enact their own tribal leasing regulations and to negotiate and enter into certain leases without the approval of the Secretary. It will go a long way in strengthening tribal self-determination and tribal economies at the same time," added Chairwoman Causley.

Along with Chairwoman Causley, the following individuals were present at today's signing ceremony: Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI); Congressman Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Department of the Interior; Acting Assistant Secretary Del Lavadure, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Brian Newland, Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Governor Randall Vicente, Pueblo of Acoma; Governor Greg Mendoza, Gila River Indian Community; and President Jefferson Keel, National Congress of American Indians. 

The National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) was founded in 1974 as a 501(c)(3) corporation. NAIHC is the only national organization representing housing interests of Native people who reside in Indian communities, Alaska Native Villages, and on native Hawaiian Home Lands.

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