California Tribal Housing Bills Approved by State

California State Capitol

PALA, CA – California tribal housing bills AB 371 (Garcia) and SB 18 (Maguire) were recently passed by the state legislature. The two bills are awaiting review by Governor Newsom. The legislation makes critical improvements to the California’s Tribal Housing Grants Programs and create additional resources for tribal housing. 

“Tribes have the highest rates of poverty, substandard and overcrowded homes, homelessness, and failing or nonexistent infrastructure of any population in the state,” said Robert Smith, Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. “These two bills are vital towards addressing the housing crisis that our communities are facing.”

Over the last three years, $130 million have been “set aside” for tribal housing grants to allow tribes to provide much needed housing to their citizens. Due to programmatic barriers, only 5% of these funds have made it to tribal governments to provide housing for their citizens. AB 371 will allow state housing officials to modify or waive the barriers that make these programs inaccessible for tribes. The bill creates opportunities for tribes to access direly needed housing funds as intended by state lawmakers.

In addition, SB 18 establishes the Tribal Housing Reconstitution and Resiliency Act, the first-ever tribal housing grant program in California. While previous tribal housing grants have been developed through “set aside” funds, SB 18 is designed to directly benefit tribes. It is a step towards restorative justice for tribal Californians, rectifying historic displacement from ancestral lands, and providing tribes with a flexible and comprehensive resource to meet their housing and community needs.