The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research, has contracted with the Urban Institute and its partners—NORC at the University of Chicago, Econometrica, and Support Services International—to conduct a congressionally-mandated needs assessment that will produce national estimates of housing needs in tribal areas in the United States. The goal of the study is to understand the determinants of housing needs, emphasizing trends in demographic, social, and economic conditions; housing conditions and needs; and housing policies and programs, focusing on the role of Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996.
Beginning in 2011, NORC is conducting a major in-person household survey in American Indian and Alaska Native tribal areas, with the aim to describe housing conditions and needs of tribal families. Having just completed three rounds of interviewing on tribal areas for the 2010 Census Integrated Communication Program Evaluation, NORC is being relied upon to help select 40 tribal areas for interviewing, obtain tribal permission for fieldwork, select a representative sample of housing units in these tribal areas, and carry out over 1,200 interviews. The household survey entails observations of housing conditions, and interviews with the owner or renter to address the dynamics of household composition and overcrowding, housing characteristics, culturally-responsive housing design, needed services and amenities, homeownership preferences, living on tribal lands, attitudes towards tribally-assisted housing, and housing costs. To ensure a greater tribal role in the study, interviews on reservations and native villages will be conducted by tribal members who have been recruited and trained by NORC. In addition, NORC is conducting a telephone survey of tribal housing offices—a national sample of 80 entities that administer the Indian Housing Block Grant program under NAHASDA—emphasizing experience with programs and policies but also covering views on changing problems and needs. Extensive outreach, relationship building, and observance of tribal research regulations with the sampled tribes is essential to the design and implementation of the study.