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Apsaaloke Nation Housing Authority future looks bright

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Apsáalooke  Nation Housing Authority has spent the last few years rebuilding their programs, paying off debt and addressing several financial audit findings.

The diligent work of the board has given the housing authority the ability to do something they haven’t done in quite a while — apply for grants.

This week the Crow Nation Legislative branch passed a resolution approving the submission of the application for the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, allowing ANHA to apply for a $1.5 million grant that will help them to purchase land on the reservation and build new homes.

Board member Calvin Leider said the Big Horn District in the St. Xavier area and the Blacklodge District between Hardin and Dunmore are priority areas to receive new housing. 

There have been no housing developments at all in those areas, he said.

Previously, the organization owed $250,000 to the IRS, they were non-compliant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Denver, which left their program facing receivership in 2017, which essentially meant HUD could take control of ANHA, said comptroller Joanie Rowland.

Soon after the legislative branch passed an ordinance that seperated ANHA from the tribal government and appointed new commissioners to the AHNA board. Giving the program more latitude in their governance, Rowland said.

“We hired a finance accountant, and attorney and started to clean up the finances and worked toward being in compliance,” she said.

ANHA was back in compliance in 2018 and was removed from the high risk list by HUD in 2019. They will pay off their IRS debt this summer, freeing up $13,000 a month, Rowland said.

Leider said the board faced several hurdles over the last few years.

“It was like starting over,” he said. 

Not only is the board working to help the department start over, they are helping to teach tenants how to care for their homes and understand the requirements of their lease agreements, Leider said. 

There has been talk within the board, Rowland said, to build a new elder housing complex, a new tribal headquarters and even tax-credit homes for people who don’t qualify for low-rent income-based housing, but ANHA is taking it one step at a time.

Now that they are eligible to apply for grants their next focus is on land purchases. 

AHNA is asking tribal members who are interested in selling land to contact them, especially landowners in high priority areas.

People interested in land sales can call Rowland for more information at 623-7145.

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