Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Urban Areas: A Report From the Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs
This study investigated issues related to housing among low-income American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) living in urban areas. Methods included interviews with staff from social service organizations serving Native Americans in 24 sampled Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and analysis of data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial census, the 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2006-10, and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The study finds that sixty-five percent of those individuals who identify as AIAN alone live in an MSA. In MSAs that include tribal land, AIAN individuals are often the majority in the tracts within and near the reservation. On average, compared to the rest of the population in the 24 sampled MSAs, AIAN individuals are younger, poorer and less educated. AIAN households are more likely to include children and on average they occupy worse housing. Disparities between Native Americans and others, however, vary widely between MSAs. Qualitative data drawn from interviews with service providers suggest that AIAN individuals leave their village or reservation due to lack of opportunities and that some people cycle back and forth between their tribal home and a nearby primary city. Factors contributing to urban homelessness include unemployment, unaffordable housing, and lack of supportive services for AIAN individuals who came to the city seeking medical care. Review of housing-related services available to Native Americans in MSAs found very few providers specialized to serve Native Americans and did not find any funding sources dedicated to supporting AIAN housing services in off-reservation MSAs.