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Rounds and Tester Introduce Legislation to Improve Homeownership Opportunities for Native American Veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), member and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at helping Native American veterans achieve homeownership.

This legislation would reform the Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and make it more accessible to Native American veterans living on trust land. Specifically, it would allow Native American veterans to use the NADL program to refinance any other existing mortgage on the same property. It would also create a relending program to allow Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to obtain loans through the NADL program and relend those funds to qualified Native American veterans.

Additionally, this legislation would expand the VA’s existing NADL program outreach to include collaborating with local service providers that are familiar with the mortgage lending process on trust land. This would offer homebuyer education and housing counseling to assist Native American veterans who are looking to qualify for mortgage financing.

 “Homeownership is part of the American dream and a key to building wealth,” said Rounds. “This legislation would improve the Native American Direct Loan program and enhance outreach and other assistance as needed to Native American veterans seeking to qualify for mortgage financing. By creating expanded access to Native American veterans, our bill would help make the dream of homeownership a reality.”

“Native Americans serve our nation at the highest rates, so there’s no question that we’ve got to keep expanding resources to help them access safe and affordable housing here at home,” said Tester. “Our bipartisan bill will do just that by offering additional services and support under the Native American Direct Loan program that’ll connect more Native Veterans and their families with the tools they need to buy, build, or fix up homes on our tribal lands.”

The Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act is supported by the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, Grow South Dakota and the following South Dakota Native CDFIs: Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, Lakota Fund/Lakota Federal Credit Union and Four Bands Community Fund.

"We are so appreciative of Senator Rounds' leadership on these issues," said Sharon Vogel, chair of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition. "The Coalition has been working with him and his staff closely over the past five years to identify strategies to improve homeownership opportunities for Native veterans. This bill would provide excellent opportunities for meaningful collaboration between VA staff and the Native organizations who serve as the boots on the ground to support our Native veterans."

For full bill text click HERE.