Big Water Consulting partnered with the Cheyenne River Housing Authority, Oglala Sioux (Lakota) Housing and Sissteon Wahpeton Housing Authority as well as the Tribal Veterans Service Officers (TVSOs) for these three reservations to conduct a survey and a focus group with tribal veterans in each area. The purpose of this project was to determine evaluate veterans' housing needs, their interest in and qualification for homeownership, and opportunities to better serve those who served their country. We were honored to participate this project and would like to thank all of the contributors to this inaugural effort, including the tribal housing entities, the TVSOs, South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition (SDNHC), Lakota Funds and Enterprise Community Partners.
Kevin Klingbeil presented the results and key findings of the SISC King County American Indian and Alaska Native Housing Needs Study to the Housing Committee of ATNI. Discussion addressed the specific needs of Native students in Seattle, efforts to develop new housing for Native families and other subpopulations of the Native community in King County, and disparities between the income levels of Native households and the median household income for King County as well as the wide gap between the rising cost of housing in this area and what Native families can actually afford.
Kevin Klingbeil presented to attendees of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) and Amerind Annual Convention and Trade Show on May 8 and discussed how tribal data collection and data-driven planning activities can be used to demonstrate both community need and tribal capacity to funding sources within the context of competitive grants.
Big Water is proud to have been part of this historic project in which local tribal field staff mapped and assessed the condition of all housing units within the Nation's lands, gathered vital demographic and needs-based data from a sample of the Nation's households, and ultimately prevented the loss of millions of dollars of critical housing funding over the next five years.
Kevin Klingbeil joined tribal housing staff from throughout the country and representatives of numerous federal agencies in the discussion of emerging tribal homeownership programs, proposed federal rules, NAIHC's legislative priorities, and ground-breaking community development projects in tribal communities.
Kevin Klingbeil presented the results of a Meth Testing and Remediation Survey to staff of tribal housing entities in the Northern Plains and representatives of the HUD Office of Native American Programs. The survey was designed and implemented by Big Water and completed by 23 of the 32 UNAHA members. Data collected in the survey served as a catalyst for discussion of the various challenges faced by tribal housing entities in their efforts to identify and appropriately respond to to the use of methamphetamine in their units.
As an associate member of SWTHA, Big Water joined member organizations and representatives of other organizations serving Native communities at Isleta Resort & Casino to observe the election of new SWTHA officers and discuss current housing funding issues, pending legislation, and regional initiatives to support tribal housing development and management in the Southwest.
As an associate member of NWIHA, Big Water joined member organizations and representatives of other organizations serving Native communities at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge to discuss regional housing initiatives and pending legislation and receive updates from the staff of relevant state and federal agencies.
Big Water crossed the border to meet with housing staff and distinguished regional chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations to learn more about the unique issues, programs, challenges and opportunities addressed by First Nations leaders and housing providers as well as emerging legislative advancements, financing mechanisms and training and technical assistance programs providing new avenues for community and economic development for Native communities in Canada.
Big Water staff attended the largest gathering of affordable housing organizations in Washington State, participated in a tour of historic buildings redeveloped into affordable urban housing facilities and learned about the widening gap between the demand for additional affordable housing supply and the development of new affordable rental units, legislation allowing for more efficient use of surplus government land, and other creative mechanisms to promote affordable housing development.
Kevin Klingbeil delivered the lunchtime keynote speech "Bridging the Gap between Native and Non-Native Communities" on the first full day of the conference, served as a member of a panel entitled "Federal Indian Law: Power to Plan, How They Differ from Local and State Governments," and described a layered data-driven planning perspective in a presentation entitled "Switching Brushes: Integrating Varied Data Sources to Paint a Richer Tribal Planning Picture."