Tribal Leaders and TDHEs

Indian Country faces many challenges, including a lack of affordable housing, little infrastructure and persistent poverty. Native Americans on and off reservations are disproportionately affected by poverty, mass incarceration, unemployment and substance abuse compared to other ethnic minorities. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate among Native Americans is 26 percent, higher than every ethnic category except African Americans.

Yet, tribal entities improve their communities through affordable housing, infrastructure and quality jobs, helping to build strong communities for their residents.


Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) are critical to community development in Indian Country, managing federal funds including the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA), the Indian Housing Block Grant Program (IHBG), and the Community Services Block Grant Act, etc.

Additional Information


In communities where the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) adds another layer of complexity in the leasing and land title clearance processes, some tribes have adopted their own residential leasing process pursuant to the authority provided under the HEARTH Act, or compacted or contracted the Land Title and Records Office (LTRO) function from the BIA.


Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) at HUD has provided funding to Indian Housing Authorities (IHAs)

Sovereign Lending: A Bright Chance for Survival, the nationally recognized video on homeownership on the Flathead Reservation produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Some states have funds available through their state housing agencies for down payment and closing cost assistance. In South Dakota, for example, organizations may apply to the South Dakota Housing Development Authority Housing Opportunity Fund for support.

A recurring theme will be the differences between titling and financing a manufactured home as personal property (chattel lending) versus real estate (mortgage lending).

Homebuyer Readiness

Many Native organizations use the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum, developed by First Nations Development Institute and Fannie Mae, and managed by First Nations Oweesta Corp. Oweesta provides instructor training around the country to prepare local practitioners to use the curriculum

Many Native organizations and TDHEs providing homeownership education use the Pathways Home: A Native Homeownership Guide, developed by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and managed by the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC).

The Flathead Finance Program for homebuyer readiness and education is based on the Pathways Home curriculum, a comprehensive homebuyer education program sponsored by the National American Indian Housing Council.

Tribes benefit from working with Fannie Mae to ensure that the tribe’s ordinances make it eligible for the Native American Conventional Lending Initiative (NACLI), and encouraging lenders to partner as well.

Tribal Land

Tribal sovereignty is rooted in the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, which acknowledges tribal nationhood, and in Article VI, which refers to treaties made by the United States with other nations.

The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. Established in 2014, this ambitious program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value.

The American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 created a nationwide Indian probate code and changed the way trust estates are distributed to heirs. In effect, it replaced state law with a federal probate code. The Act applies to all individually owned trust lands unless a tribe has its own probate code.

In 2012, in a major shift of authority over tribal lands, Congress amended the Long-Term Leasing Act through the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (commonly referred to as the HEARTH Act). The HEARTH Act amendments provide authority for Indian tribes to lease tribal trust lands directly pursuant to tribal law, without further Secretarial approval. This enables tribes to exercise more decision-making authority over land use decisions and engage more efficiently in larger scale homeownership and business development.

Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Code of the U.S. Department of Urban Development (HUD). The standards have strengthened and broadened over time, especially in 1994.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concluded, “Typical all-in housing costs for manufactured-home owners in nonmetropolitan areas were over a third less than the costs for households that owned a site-built home in a nonmetro areas.

How To Use This Site

Resources here have been compiled by our coalition partners.

Start by finding an area that matches your role; from individual homebuyer to Tribal government. You can sort by tags within each area. Resources may be external links, PDF downloads, or contain short content.

Resources are current at time of publishing, but may change in the future.

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