With June as National Homeownership Month as a fitting backdrop, the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition introduced our initial Board of Directors to our membership base and a myriad of partner organizations who were in attendance at our Annual Tour & Convening in Flandreau, South Dakota. The Board of Directors is comprised of:

  • Chairwoman: Sharon Vogel, Executive Director of Cheyenne River Housing Authority
  • Vice Chairman: Eric Shepherd, Executive Director of Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority
  • Secretary: Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of Lakota Funds
  • Treasurer: Lori Moen, Chief Operating Officer of GROW South Dakota
  • Members: Juel Burnette III, Branch Manager of First Tribal Lending; Tatewin Means, Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation; Lorraine Polak, Executive Director of South Dakota Housing Development Authority; Colleen Steele, Executive Director of Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial; Lakota Vogel, Executive Director of Four Bands Community Fund

“Seating the Board is a major milestone in formalizing our operations and strengthening our programming. We have a great group of dedicated, diverse, and knowledgeable professionals, many of whom have been supporting the Coalition since its inception,” says Chairwoman Sharon Vogel.

The Coalition’s Annual Tour & Convening was a three-day event comprised of a planning day, a site visit, committee meetings, and a lender symposium. The event was attended by 72 individuals representing tribes, regional and national nonprofit organizations, state and federal legislators, lenders, and various federal agencies. In addition to South Dakota, attendees traveled from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming, to examine successful models and engage in discussions surrounding Native American homeownership.

“The level of participation we had from across the country demonstrates the strong support we have, not only from our tribal communities, but also from a wide range of partner organizations and government agencies that are aligning their efforts in order to create more homeownership opportunities for Native Americans,” says Sharon Vogel.

Despite economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for homeownership in South Dakota’s Native American communities has continued to grow. Collectively, the members of the Coalition deployed 85 home-related loans totaling $6.4 million in 2021, representing more than a 57% increase in number of loans and 20% increase in value of loans from 2020. More than half of the 2021 borrowers were first-time homebuyers, and 89% of the loans were deployed on or near Indian reservations. To make homeownership possible for the low-income communities they serve, members of the Coalition delivered 46 homeownership trainings along with 237 hours of customized assistance to borrowers and connected homebuyers to an average of $5,365 in subsidies.

“The impact numbers deliver a clear message. Despite long-standing, systemic barriers, our membership base is utilizing effective strategies to create homeownership opportunities for Native American families. People throughout the nation are taking note and adapting these models in their communities,” states Sharon Vogel.