Division of Human Services
Housing Improvement Program (HIP)
WHAT IS HIP?
HIP, the Housing Improvement Program, is a home repair, renovation and replacement grant program administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and federally-recognized Indian tribes for American Indians and Alaska Native individuals and families who have no immediate resource for standard housing. While not an entitlement program, HIP was established under The Snyder Act of 1921 as one of several BIA programs authorized by Congress for the benefit of Indian people.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
To be eligible for HIP assistance, you must be a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or be an Alaska Native; live in an approved tribal service area; have an income that does not exceed 125% of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Poverty Guidelines; have present housing that is substandard, as defined by the regulations; have no other resource for housing assistance; have not received assistance after October 1, 1986 for repairs and renovation, replacement or housing, or down payment assistance; and have not acquired your present housing through a federally sponsored housing program that includes such housing assistance.
WHY IS HIP DIFFERENT?
HIP is a home improvement and replacement grant program that serves the neediest of the needy: American Indians and Alaska Natives who have substandard housing or no housing at all and have no immediate source of housing assistance. HIP is a secondary, safety-net housing program that seeks to eliminate substandard housing and homelessness in Indian communities by helping those who need it most obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing for themselves and their families. It is the BIA’s policy that every American Indian and Alaska Native family should have the opportunity for a decent home and suitable living environment.
WHO CAN I CONTACT ABOUT OTHER INDIAN HOUSING PROGRAMS?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is the primary provider of new housing on Indian reservations and in Indian communities through the Office of Native American Programs, the sponsor of Indian Housing Authorities (IHA’s) and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHE’s). Other federal housing resources available to American Indians and Alaska Natives are the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Program and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Direct Home Loan Program.
HOW ARE HIP FUNDS DISTRIBUTED?
HIP funds are distributed on the basis of the number of eligible applicants and their estimated cost of program services. Funds are distributed to tribes through Public Law 93-638 contracts or self-determination compacts or to Bureau of Indian Affairs offices for the delivery of program services to the most needy eligible applicants. Persons interested in performing housing repair, renovation or construction should contact the tribal governments or Bureau of Indian Affairs offices, with which they are interested in working, for information on available projects.
WHAT DOES HIP PROVIDE?
Interim Improvements: Provides up to $2,500 in housing repairs for conditions that threaten the health and/or safety of the occupants.
Repairs and Renovation: Provides up to $35,000 in repairs and renovation to improve the condition of a homeowner’s dwelling to meet applicable building code standards.
Replacement Housing or New Home: Provides a modest replacement home if a homeowner’s dwelling cannot be brought to applicable building code standards, or a new home. If you do not own a home, you may also be eligible if you are the owner or leaseholder of land suitable for housing and the lease is for not less that 25 years at the time assistance is received.
WHAT IS A TRIBAL SERVICE AREA?
An approved tribal service area is a geographical area designated by a tribe and approved by the BIA where HIP services can be delivered. To find out if you live in an approved tribal service area, contact your local tribal or BIA housing office.
WHAT IS THE HIP INCOME GUIDELINE?
The HIP Income Guideline is comprised of two charts, one for the lower 48 states and the other for Alaska. The income figures on the chart establish the points you will receive for the first Need Ranking Factor based on Annual Household Income. Applicants with an annual household income exceeding 125 percent of the federal Poverty Guideline are not eligible for the program.
HOW CAN I APPLY OR GET MORE INFORMATION?
To see if you qualify for HIP assistance, obtain an application, or get more information about HIP and other BIA programs, contact your local tribal or BIA housing office. Send your completed application to your local tribal or BIA housing office.