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Building Homeownership Among Urban Native Americans

CBC Mortgage Agency (CBCMA), a tribally owned, nationally chartered housing finance agency, has created the Kani Urban Indian Housing Initiative [1] to increase homeownership among urban-dwelling Native Americans.

The U.S. Census for 2010, the most recent demographic study, found 5.2 million people—about 1.7% of the total U.S. population—identified as an American Indian or Alaska Native, either alone or in combination with one or more other races. According to the Urban Indian Health Commission report “Invisible Tribes: Urban Indians and Their Health in a Changing World,” nearly seven out of every 10 American Indians and Alaska Natives, approximately 2.8 million individuals, live in or near cities. Slightly more than half of this demographic are homeowners.

The word “Kani” is “home” in the traditional language of the Cedar Band of Paiutes that owns Cedar Band Corp. the parent company of CBCMA, which launched the initiative in partnership with the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), an advocacy group for American Indian families living in urban areas. NUIFC will promote the initiative through its existing affiliated urban Indian centers with webinars and homebuyer workshops designed to offer financial literacy education on the homebuying process and down payment assistance programs.

“As a native owned company, we recognize the unique set of challenges that the Native American community faces in becoming homeowners” said Kani Urban Indian Housing Initiative spokeswoman Tama Tsinnie, who noted that added that urban Indians spend more money on rent proportionally than non-Indian renters. “This new initiative will enable us to provide key resources to address the housing crisis within urban Indian communities.”

“With homelessness and under housing a definitive and widespread issue in our communities, this is an excellent opportunity to provide meaningful education and assistance to urban dwelling American Indian and Alaska Native peoples to access homeownership,” added NUIFC Executive Director Janeen Comenote. “We are excited to partner with the Kani Urban Indian Housing Initiative and are looking forward to launching this unique project.”