Hoeven Invites Secretary Carson to North Dakota to Review Innovative Efforts to Combat Homelessness
HUD Secretary Pledges to Visit State, Learn Firsthand About LaGrave on First in Grand Forks, HUD-VASH Program at Turtle Mountain
WASHINGTON – At a recent hearing of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee, Senator John Hoeven invited Ben Carson, Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to visit North Dakota and review two innovative efforts in the state to combat homelessness:
- The LaGrave on First project in Grand Forks.
- The Tribal HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program at the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.
“We have some truly innovative projects underway in North Dakota to help our residents overcome homelessness, including in Grand Forks and on the Turtle Mountain reservation,” said Hoeven. “The LaGrave on First project goes beyond providing housing by addressing many of the challenges that are associated with being homeless, such as addiction, mental health and the need for job training. We also have a project that is focused on our Native American veterans. Homelessness is a widespread and persistent issue in Indian Country, and this has real impacts for our efforts to address veteran homelessness, because Native Americans serve in the Armed Forces at a higher rate than any other ethnic group. That’s why we established the HUD-VASH initiative and are working to make it permanent. Seeing these efforts firsthand would be beneficial for Secretary Carson as he works to prevent homelessness and ensure access to quality, affordable housing across our nation, and I appreciate that he has accepted my invitation.”
LaGrave on First
LaGrave on First is a nearly $9 million project developed by the City of Grand Forks and the local housing authority that helps serve the region’s chronically homeless population by providing both housing and supportive services. Hoeven previously secured a waiver for the project, which helped keep its construction on schedule and allowed it to advance using HUD’s HOME program and Section 8 project-based vouchers. This came as a result of the senator urging Secretary Carson to help work through the project’s permitting process.
The Tribal HUD-VASH program at Turtle Mountain provides rental and housing assistance to homeless and at-risk Native American veterans. Hoeven serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to make the program permanent and provide stability to ensure Native communities can sustain their veteran outreach work. This bill passed the Senate last Congress and, since its reintroduction, has again been approved by the committee.
Hoeven’s legislation would also set aside at least five percent of HUD-VASH resources for tribes and tribal housing authorities to address veteran homelessness. The bill will also ensure that HUD and the VA modify the initiative through tribal consultation to better guide these newly-available resources to homeless Native American veterans.
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