Please see the letter below from Heidi Frechette, Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Native American Programs:
We – in the Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) – understand that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is impacting the health of Tribal communities, disrupting Tribal economies and changing the way Tribal members live and do business. We also understand that this is having a severe impact on the low-income families assisted under our programs. Please know that the safety and security of Native American families, tribal housing staff, and everyone living in Indian Country is our top priority.
All HUD offices nationwide have moved to telework status. However, ONAP Headquarters and Area staff are still available to assist you and provide you with guidance, as needed. You may reach your local ONAP Administrator or program specialist, by email, and phone (where office phones can be transferred).
We know that you are implementing emergency plans to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and taking steps to protect your families and elders. Rightfully so, this should be your top priority. To ensure that families can quarantine in place, as necessary, ONAP is strongly recommending that, under ONAP grant programs, Tribes and TDHEs place a temporary moratorium on all evictions, foreclosures, and any actions that would result in residents becoming homeless or otherwise unstable.
Tribes and TDHEs are encouraged to provide any rent relief and loss mitigation to any eligible families that cannot make rent or homebuyer payments at this time. Accordingly, until further notice, ONAP will not issue findings against Tribes and TDHEs if the rent relief and loss mitigation being provided to eligible families in response to COVID-19 are not provided for in existing policies of the respective Tribe or TDHE. These are challenging times, and it requires that we do what is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus while – at the same time – ensuring the safety and security of our families.
To ensure effective communication on COVID-19, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a web page on the outbreak (www.hud.gov/coronavirus). It includes a list of FAQs, which will be updated regularly and address commonly asked questions. I also encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web page on the COVID-19 outbreak (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html).
Please alert your Area ONAP via email of any of the following changes in your operational status: if a travel ban is in place; any confirmed cases of COVID-19; any TDHE or government closures; and any restrictions on entering the community/reservation.
I recognize that these are challenging times, but I assure you that ONAP is dedicated to supporting our Tribal partners in addressing the impact of COVID-19 in Indian Country. Thank you for your continued partnership.
Heidi J. Frechette
Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Native American Programs
EO 13891 disclaimer: The contents of this document, except when based on statutory or regulatory authority or law, do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.