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New housing funds latest in Tribe’s HUD connection

HOLLYWOOD – The Seminole Tribe’s relationship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) remained strong in late February with the announcement of more funding for housing-related projects.

HUD awarded the tribe a $1 million Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) to support development and operation of affordable housing.

The award was part of more than $652 million in all for hundreds of eligible Native American tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities, or TDHEs.

The Miccosukee Tribe received more than $74,000 in the award as well.

“The U.S. government has a responsibility to carry out trust obligations to Indian tribes, and with this funding, HUD is acting to meet these obligations,” HUD’s acting secretary Matthew E. Ammon said in a statement.

The new funds can be used for a range of affordable housing activities on reservations and related areas. In addition to affordable housing development and operation, the funds are available for the modernization of existing housing, housing services, crime prevention and safety and “activities that provide creative approaches to solving affordable housing problems.”

Last summer, the Seminole Tribe received $900,000 from a HUD Indian Community Development Block Grant for threats posed by the Covid-19. It was part of $100 million in funds distributed to Native American tribes to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Those funds were made available for construction of rental housing, water infrastructure, renovations to health clinics for Covid-19 testing and treatment, and emergency food supplies.

The HUD relationship also extends to the tribe’s Native Learning Center in Hollywood. The NLC is supported by an IHBG – awarded by HUD’s Office of Native American Programs (ONAP). The funding allows NLC’s programs and services to be offered for free or at a reduced cost for Native Americans and those working within Indian Country.

ONAP administers housing and community development programs that benefit Native Americans.

Providing more housing opportunities for tribal members is something the tribe has been working on in earnest across several reservations in recent years. One of the latest is on the Hollywood Reservation, where Lennar Homes is building 103 rental townhomes and 74 single-family homes at Seminole Park. It includes three- four- and five-bedroom single-family homes – half one-story and half two-story. Most of the townhomes will be three bedrooms, but 28 will be four bedrooms. The project is expected to be completed this year.

The development is located in an area of the reservation that was previously a mobile home site that offered residences to the public. Those homes have since been demolished and Seminole Park is now set aside for tribal members only.

The development is spread across a 44-acre stretch on the east side of State Road 7. It is close to the Trading Post, Seminole Police Department, Seminole Fire Rescue, Seminole Gaming warehouses, Seminole Wholesale Distributors and Okalee Village.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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