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Grant to CU will expand services to tribal members
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (8/29/12)--Citizens Community CU (CCCU), Devils Lake, N.D., will use its $1.5 million financial assistance award from the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund to expand affordable and equitable financial services to the Native American populations it has traditionally served.

"With this grant, we will be able to provide the direct financing of housing through Tribal Housing Agencies, and direct loans to individual tribal members," said Darwin Brokke, the CCCU's president. "We will be able to help assist tribal agencies by providing the credit they need to implement their own single-family housing plans."

One local reservation has an immediate waiting list of roughly 125 families, with 525 families identified as needing housing in the future, Brokke said.

Because tribal income is one-half of the statewide average and poverty on local reservations is three to four times more prevalent than in the surrounding communities, families must wait for up to 10 years for affordable housing. With the award, CCCU can provide several hundred new homes, Brokke said.

The Treasury recently announced more than $186 million in awards to 210 organizations serving low-income communities. That total, provided through the CDFI Fund's Community Development Financial Institutions Program and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program), is the largest amount awarded in CDFI Fund's history. Since its creation, the fund has awarded more than $1.4 billion to community development organizations and financial institutions.

CU Breakthrough's consultants assisted the credit union in preparing the necessary applications. CU Breakthrough, the fee-based consulting arm of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, specializes in helping credit unions expand offerings to underserved communities through a variety of services.
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