North Fork Rancheria Indian Housing Authority to build 26 new homes for community

The North Fork Rancheria Indian Housing Authority (NFRIHA) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 22, 2021 for its $16.4 million affordable housing development on tribal lands in North Fork, Calif. The development, North Fork LIHTC Homes #1, will provide 26 new affordable housing units for tribal citizens. Construction will begin in early 2021 and be complete by December 2022.

The development is the result of over two decades of planning and efforts by the Tribe to improve and provide affordable housing and address substantial structural obstacles.

“Lacking a tribal land base, we acquired the development property in 2000 and placed it into federal trust in 2002,” said Elaine Bethel-Fink, tribal chair for North Fork Rancheria. “Lacking casino resources, our Tribe and Indian Housing Authority have leveraged limited funding sources to develop 14 prior housing units on the site, a community center, family wellness youth center, general store, playground and supporting infrastructure.”

The new development is NFRIHA’s first Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project. The project received a 2020 LIHTC award from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) and generated $10.6 million in investor equity from RBC Community Investments (RBC). The development is only the 11th tribal project to be awarded credits by CTCAC since the Native American set-aside was established in 2014.

“RBC Community Investments is proud to be a partner in NFRIHA’s first LIHTC development” said John Galfione, a director at RBC. “We are excited to see the project come out of the ground and welcome families in need of high quality, affordable housing to their new homes.”

North Fork LIHTC Homes #1 design renderings provided by Travois Design.

Additional funding will help with the remaining development costs: a $5 million Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG)-Competitive Grant Program award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Indian Health Service Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction resources, and from the North Fork Rancheria’s (Tribe) annual IHBG formula funding.

North Fork LIHTC Homes #1 will include seven duplexes and 12 single-family homes with units ranging in size from one to four bedrooms and will include accessible housing units. The geography of the development site is unique, requiring significant engineering and facility upgrades including road, water, and sewer infrastructure. Homes will be built into the mountainous landscape with views of the Sierra Nevada. All homes are designed as two-story structures due the site’s topography and to limit earthwork and impacts to the surrounding landscape. NFRIHA and the Tribe own and operate 33 existing affordable housing units. The additional LIHTC units will significantly increase the housing stock and NFRIHA’s ability to meet tribal housing needs.

NFRIHA partnered with Travois for consulting and architectural services.

“Travois would like to congratulate NFRIHA on its first LIHTC development,” said Trent Rogers, senior project manager for Travois. “The housing authority’s two-decade community vision is coming to fruition through hard work, innovation and perseverance. We are proud to be a partner in this development!”

Civil engineering services are being provided by Blair, Church & Flynn Consulting Engineers, an award-winning Native American-owned company committed to designing safe, sustainable and economical infrastructure solutions since 1958.

“We are excited to team with the NFRIHA and Travois on a project that will substantially benefit the local tribal community and we recognize the significance and impact this project will have for tribal members,” said Luis Gonzalez, project manager for Blair, Church & Flynn. “It’s been a pleasure to be a part of such an exceptional team.”

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