As we look back on 2014, I am encouraged to count many achievements and am excited by the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.
With the trust and incredible hard work of our tribal clients, we have collectively broken barriers to affordable housing — winning Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) in states that had either never awarded them to tribes or not for decades.
Travois has expanded our asset management and compliance services to offer 24-hour round-the-clock support, built a powerful database from scratch to safeguard our clients’ sensitive information, successfully introduced two new LIHTC investors to Indian Country expanding the pool of financing available, and grew to a staff of 29 incredibly talented, smart (and good looking ☺) employees.
We are blessed with amazing clients and a hardworking and dedicated staff – without whom none of this year’s many accomplishments would be possible.
Travois has been honored to assist our tribal clients in securing money to build or rehabilitate homes in more than 20 states — notably we are thrilled to have assisted the Bishop Paiute Tribe win the first award of LIHTCs ever allocated to an Indian Tribe in California and the Warm Springs Housing Authority receive the first tribal LIHTC award in Oregon in 20 years. These groundbreaking achievements were years in the making and reflect Travois’ desire to expand affordable housing opportunities across the country.
We were also happy to have played a role in expanding economic development opportunities in Indian Country. Just last month we were pleased to assist the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation secure financing to build a $42 million government administration building that will centralize many government services — and also replace the previous building that had burned to the ground.
Many of our partners have been recognized for their incredible efforts this year as well. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe received the Arizona Department of Housing’s 2014 Housing Hero Award for Tribal Initiatives in recognition of completing two LIHTC developments for a total of 96 homes in less than three years. The Lac Courte Oreilles Housing Authority received Honorable Mention certificate in the Rural Housing category for this year’s Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards competition for its second LIHTC development. Diana Phair was named NWIHA’s Tribal Housing Director of the Year at the NWIHA Annual Awards Banquet on Sept. 10. The Washington State Bar Association honored Travois Advisory Board member Gabe Galanda with its 2014 Excellence in Diversity Award.
This special recognition highlights just a sliver of the incredible progress happening in Indian Country this year. We know so many of you work day after day not in search of praise but to improve the lives of your fellow tribal members, and we are honored to join you in that journey.
Every year we look forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new people at our conference. This year’s 14th annual Travois Indian Country Affordable Housing and Economic Development conference was in San Diego and was a smashing success by any measure. More than 150 Indian Country professionals joined us for a week of training, networking, and dialogue about the successes and challenges facing affordable housing and economic development stakeholders in Indian Country.
We will remember 2014 for many accomplishments, but we are energized by the challenges that we still face. Many barriers to affordable housing and economic development in Indian Country remain. Specifically, no Community Development Entity (CDE) with a focus on serving Native Americans has won an award of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) in the last two rounds — more than $7 billion of economic development funding.
While it was an incredible accomplishment to win tax credits in California and Oregon this year, there are still many states across the country that have never, or not for a long time, awarded LIHTCs to tribes. We have been working with our state and federal agency partners to change this in 2015.
With a recent change in political power in Washington, D.C., we must redouble our efforts and work with our elected leaders to reauthorize NAHASDA, a vital resource for affordable housing, and continue to raise awareness of the incredible unmet need for affordable housing in Indian Country.
We are honored to have partnered with you this past year and for the last 20 years to help you build your communities. Thank you! Cheers to 2014. We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!