Pine Ridge, SD, Aug 24, 2012 -- USDA officials attended the building dedication of the Oglala Sioux (Lakota) Housing Authority’s (OSLHA) administration building funded through USDA Rural Development’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Community Facility Direct loan of $3,625,000.
Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks joined Tribal and Housing Authority leaders to celebrate the partnerships and collaboration that made this a momentous day. Joining the leaders were Sandra B. Henriquez, Assistant Secretary for Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Public and Indian Housing and other HUD officials. All officials spoke to their commitment to the housing needs in Indian Country and to working together as agencies to support the efforts in Pine Ridge.
“This project will allow the OSLHA to improve and enhance their working environment to better serve the public,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks. “USDA Rural Development is pleased to be a partner in the development of this energy efficient facility that will offer expanded services. This project continues the efforts of the Obama administration to improve vital community services, restore the American economy, while improving the quality of life in rural South Dakota.”
As the first Indian Housing Authority in the country and first housing authority of any kind in South Dakota, OSLHA has been in existence over 50 years. The former OSLHA facility had been outgrown and was not energy efficient. The new construction is a 13,500 square foot “green” building with an attached paved parking area. The OSLHA serves 28,787 people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and manages more than 1,500 low-income rental units, and 500 homeownership units.
“Working with Rural Development and coordinating as a team made this building a reality,” said Paul Iron Cloud, OSLHA Chief Executive Officer, “The total housing staff now exceeds 120 people and this building will help everyone assist the community; the need is so great.”
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) into law. It was designed to jumpstart the Nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act included measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need. More information about USDA's efforts regarding the Recovery Act is available at www.usda.gov/recovery. More information about the Federal government's efforts on the economic stimulus is available at www.recovery.gov.
For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.