Across-the-board federal spending cuts gut HUD program aimed at Native American homeownership

As $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts take effect, funding for a Housing and Urban Development program created to pave the way for Native Americans to purchase homes will dry up.

The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program is a mortgage program designated for registered Native Americans for building, buying, refinancing or rehabilitating a home.

Some of the features of the program include a down payment of between 1.25 percent to 2.25 percent for a home and requires no monthly mortgage insurance payments.

Tulsa resident Joshua Taylor, who has lived in midtown Tulsa for nearly three years and has been renting just as long, applied for the HUD program in February. He said he wasn't sure how long he'd be in Tulsa, but after working his current job for five years, he decided to make Tulsa his permanent residence.

"I didn't know if I was going to stay around the area," he said.  "I didn't know if maybe something was going to come up where I was like, 'I need to move,' but I've been at my job for over five years now. I've been living in Tulsa for over -- for almost three now. And I really love Tulsa so I decided I wanted to get a home here," he explained.

Taylor is one of more than 6,000 Native Americans living in Oklahoma who've taken advantage of the 184 program. In fact, Oklahomans make up nearly 42 percent of all loans issued across the country.

Taylor, who had his eye on another midtown home, is now playing a waiting game after receiving notice from his lender that the federal government can no longer back the loans under the sequester.

"The official letter says they're not doing funding right now, but 'your order had been in for so long that we figured those orders would still go through," he said.

But it's no guarantee at this point for Taylor, who was supposed to close on his house April 1. According to the letter, funding cuts to the program go into effect March 27.

Taylor's lender could offer him a conventional loan, but the benefits of such a move would be costly for a young man hoping to cement himself in Tulsa.

"I can still go through with my purchase and possibly get the 184 if the funds become available, but if they don't, well there's about $1,200 I'd planned on doing other things with."

Taylor said he expects to be given a definitive answer about the status of his HUD loan by March 28.

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