The Pathway to Home Ownership for the Hopi Sinom
February 6, 2023
Homeownership is a fundamental aspect of the American dream, but for many Native American communities, including the Hopi people, this dream is often out of reach. The Hopi reservation is located in northeastern Arizona and has a poverty rate of over 40%, making it difficult for many families to afford a home. However, there are steps that the Hopi people can take to increase their chances of becoming homeowners.
One of the first steps in the pathway to homeownership is to improve credit scores. Many Hopi families have low credit scores due to a lack of credit history or past financial challenges. Further, many Hopi people are self employed as artists, ranchers, and consultants, making the process more challenging as they may not be aware of alternative ways to build their credit profile. By paying bills on time and reducing outstanding debt, Hopi families can improve their credit scores and make themselves more attractive to lenders.
The next step is to save for a down payment. Many Hopi families struggle to save enough money for a down payment, but there are programs available that can help. The Hopi Tribe’s housing department, for example, offers a down payment assistance program for eligible families. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture’s Section 502 Direct Loan program provides low-income families with a zero-down payment option for rural homes on the reservation. Another often overlooked opportunity is the HUD Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program specifically designed for American Indian and Alaska Native families, Alaska villages, tribes, or tribally designated housing entities. Congress established this program in 1992.
Once a family has improved their credit score and saved for a down payment, they can start looking for a home. It is important to keep in mind that the Hopi reservation is a rural area, and the availability of homes may be limited. However, the Hopi Tribe’s housing department and other organizations offer a variety of housing options, such as new construction, rehabbed homes, and rental assistance programs. Another limiting factor is the availability of land to build on and oftentimes may be hindered by conflict amongst clan members or villages. However, if one seeks all alternatives from the tribe, to include Hopi Partioned Land and the Tawa’ovi community near Hard Rock, Arizona.
The final step in the pathway to homeownership is to secure a mortgage. Many Hopi families may be eligible for government-backed mortgages through programs such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), HUD’s Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan program. These programs offer lower down payment requirements and more flexible credit standards than traditional mortgages.
In conclusion, the pathway to homeownership for the Hopi people can be challenging, but it is not impossible. By improving credit scores, saving for a down payment, working to secure a piece of land early, finding an affordable home and securing a mortgage, Hopi families can make the dream of homeownership a reality. It’s also important to note that community organizations, tribal housing
department and local government can play a vital role in supporting and providing resources and information to the Hopi people on their journey to homeownership.
Currently HTHA has a list of projects proposed for the next five years:
• Warehouse Construction on at Polacca and Winslow
• Youth Center Subsurface Drainage System
• Spider Mound housing
• Twin Arrows housing
• First Mesa Consolidated Villages Community Development Master
• 20 unit scattered site development proposals
• 40 unit Winslow Development and site improvement
• 2 BIA HIP Homes
• Home Rehabilitation Program
To assist you with achieving your goal of home ownership, we have included some useful links along with videos below:
- Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Native American Direct Loan | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)
- Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program | Rural Development (usda.gov)
- Loans | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Hopi CEDS 2021 update.V.7.9.indd (hopi-nsn.gov)