Sitka, Alaska (KINY) - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad today announced that USDA is providing a $1 million loan to Native Community Development Financial Institution Haa Yaakaawu Financial Corp to help improve access to housing in southeast Alaska.
“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA invest in rural communities like those in southeast Alaska to increase access to homeownership opportunities because rural Americans should have the opportunity to build their lives in the village they call home,” said Ahmad. “We are proud to partner with expert organizations like Haa Yakaawu that help support economic security for rural Alaskans and ensure they have access to the programs and services that everyone needs to thrive.”
“Housing is a critical need across Alaska, so young people can build equity and invest in their communities, families can grow and thrive, neighbors can bond and take care of one another, and elders have safe, affordable homes,” said USDA State Director for Alaska Julia Hnilicka. “Now more than ever, we are working together to implement innovative solutions to longstanding challenges. We are excited to strengthen our partnership with Haa Yaakaawu Financial Corp.”
Southeast Alaska Native Financial Corp and USDA USDA’s Native American Community Development Financial Institution (NCDFI) Relending
Demonstration Program is designed to increase homeownership opportunities for Native American Tribes, Alaska Native Communities, and Native Hawaiian Communities in rural areas. The program provides capital to NCDFIs to re-lend the funding to low- and very low-income people who will live on tribal lands and need affordable, modest single-family homes.
The projects will help communities address immediate needs and carry out long-term strategies for economic growth and stability in southeast Alaska, which is part of the Rural Partners Network.
Background: Rural Partners Network
Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, RPN is now active in 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico.
Community networks receive support from full-time USDA staff who live and work locally. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships, and apply for funding. In addition to USDA staff, there are staff at more than 24 other federal agencies dedicated to RPN and making resources across the government easier to access for people in rural communities.
RPN communities also benefit from coordination through other federal efforts such as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Investing in America agenda. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and ensures rural voices are heard and reflected in national policies that will benefit all people in rural communities.
Since RPN’s launch, USDA has provided more than $800 million to fund a variety of projects in RPN communities.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ak.