Indian reservations are in desperate need of affordable, safe housing, officials from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation testified during a U.S. Senate field hearing in Rapid City, S.D., this week.
Kevin Woster of the Rapid City Journal was there and wrote the following:
Housing shortages mix with gang activities and violence to damage the fabric of society on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in ways that demand more federal funding and reasoned cooperation from Washington, D.C., Paul Iron Cloud of the Oglala housing program said during a joint hearing of the Senate committees on Indian Affairs and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Housing programs struggle not just because of financial pressures but also because of increasing problems with gangs, suicide and violence that make housing shortfalls even worse, he said.
Iron Cloud testified that “The growing prevalence of this violence is really attacking and destroying the social structure of our reservations, creating unacceptable injuries, death and fear in our communities and undercutting our ability to protect our units and tenants. It is in many ways a reservation-wide situation, but Oglala Sioux (Lakota) Housing, as the primary landlord on the reservation, is uniquely impacted.”
The hearing was called by Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and attended by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also stopped Tuesday at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.
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