Oglala Sioux seek solutions on chronic housing shortage

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

Disaster magnifies Sioux housing crunch.

Raymond Eagle Hawk, his girlfriend and his young daughter live in a plywood-walled shack barely larger than their bed. PINE RIDGE, S.D. – The housing shortage on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a longstanding problem for thousands of Oglala Sioux members.

A task force of federal and tribal officials and housing advocates also began work this month on a plan to address the shortage on the reservation of about 35,000 people, starting with a study of current houses and their condition to better understand the situation. Finding a home, Kills Enemy said, would be “everything.” Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing’s inventory includes about 1,200 low-income rentals and roughly 500 homes for ownership that have been built since the 1960s, Martin said, estimating an average of between 12 and 15 people live in each home.

The nonprofit Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing, which is participating in the task force, has put more than 100 people in homes since 1999, Executive Director Pinky Clifford said. Thunder Valley Community Development Corp., a nonprofit organization that has caught the eye of the Obama administration, broke ground in June on a sustainable community that’s expected to include more than 20 homes, a grocery store and powwow grounds, among other features. Executive Director Nick Tilsen said energy-efficient homes allow a family to put money that would have gone to high utility costs, a problem with older and dilapidated houses, toward a home loan.

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