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Press Release

Release date: 10/4/2022

NeighborWorks America Media

Expert available to discuss how mortgage lending hinders housing in Native communities

November is Native American Heritage Month. NeighborWorks America’s expert is available to comment on issues locking Native American people out of homeownership, such as mortgage lending, credit issues and the short supply of housing industry professionals. With more than 25 years of history in mortgage lending on Tribal Trust and Restricted Lands, NeighborWorks America offers a unique perspective and lessons learned that can be applied now to help this population own homes and build wealth.

When: Oct. 4 – ongoing

Where: Phone, email or Zoom

NeighborWorks America expert available for comment:
Mel Willie, director of Native Partnerships and Strategy, NeighborWorks America.

Mel Willie leads NeighborWorks America’s programming to expand its investment in Native communities. Willie is a national leader in Indian Country with more than 23 years of experience in nonprofit management, government, political, public and intergovernmental affairs and has represented tribal interests at the local, tribal, state and national level. He is a member of the Navajo Nation, born and raised on the reservation in northeast Arizona. Having served as past executive director of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) and as special advisor to one of the nation’s largest public housing authorities, Willie is intimately familiar with providing affordable housing through highly regulated federal programs.

He can discuss how mortgage lending in Indian Country can be complicated given the various land types; programs and practices that can help create more Native homeowners; and how NeighborWorks helps Native American people get into and keep homes.

About NeighborWorks America  
For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as NeighborWorks America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes nearly 250 members in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks America offers grant funding, peer exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools, and access to training as the nation's leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment and education.