Becoming a Homeowner

Tulalip Tribes and 1st Tribal Lending partner to teach about 184 loans and how to buy a house

Darkfeather Ancheta, 1st Tribal Lending Outreach Spokeswoman, discusses loans and credit.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Housing isn’t new to us,” stated Tulalip tribal member and 1st Tribal Lending Outreach Spokeswoman, Darkfeather Ancheta, to a full classroom at the Tulalip Administration Building. “We’ve had longhouses and smokehouses for years. We’ve grown and can’t all fit into longhouses anymore. Housing isn’t new to us, credit is new, income is new. The times have changed, we didn’t have to worry about those types of things back then.”

The Tulalip Tribes Leasing department recently partnered with Darkfeather and 1st Tribal Lending to bring Native Homeownership: The Guide to Buying a Home, a three-part, seven and a half-hour class, to the tribal members of the Tulalip community. The classes are held throughout the year to help prepare and provide education to tribal members who are interested in purchasing a home of their own. Now in its second year, word about the course is spreading throughout the community as the most recent class, on the evening of February 27, saw their largest attendance of nearly fifty Tulalip citizens.

In 1992, the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program, designed for federally recognized tribal members, was established through U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The loan program guarantees that Indigenous borrowers from across the nation get into homes with lower down payments as well as lower and fixed interest rates, compared to standard bank loans. The loan can be used for the purchase of a home on the reservation as well as designated areas off of the reservation. 1st Tribal Lending is an administer of the Section 184 Loan and by enlisting Darkfeather to instruct the course, tribal members get an in-depth look at the process of the loan. Although there is no minimum credit score requirement, 184 does require your credit to be relatively clean. Meaning no outstanding collection items and no charge-offs, as well as a few other requirements. If a future homeowner shows delinquencies on their credit score, Darkfeather can discuss ways to improve and remove items from their credit.

“The 184 loan is specifically for tribal members,” says Darkfeather. “We can use it for purchasing, remodeling, purchase plus remodel and building for homes on and off the reservation. The way that tribal members qualify is based off credit history and income.  I can help them with their credit. When they take this class, we can pull their credit for them for free. We can go over it, I can help them understand what’s good, what’s bad and where their situation is.”

Tulalip tribal members who successfully complete the course are also eligible for the Down Payment Assistance Program in which Tulalip provides the down payment of the 184 loans for their members, up to $5000.00 depending on the amount of the loan.

“I want to buy a home, I’m sick of renting,” expressed Tulalip tribal member Sydney Napeahi. “I’m interested in learning about the loans I can get and what I can do to qualify, what the next steps are if I’m already qualified and how quickly I can get into a home.”

“The Native homeownership [course] helps get tribal members ready,” says Darkfeather. “For me it’s about the education. Knowledge is power. If they can learn about it, prepare and get ready for it, when they find their dream home they’ll know what to do to get into that home. Nobody wants to be told they’re denied, so hopefully with this class they can gain that knowledge to get their dream home.”

Current Native Homeownership students will complete their final class on March 13, and will be all the more closer to stepping through the front door of a home to call their own. Native Homeownership: The Guide to Buying a Home will be held twice more during this year, so be on the lookout for future dates and be sure to RSVP ASAP to reserve your seat in the class. For further details, please contact the Tulalip Leasing Department at (360) 716-4818 or e-mail Darkfeather Ancheta at


1st Tribal Lending Builds Strong Future for Native People With American Indian College Fund


Darkfeather Ancheta.

Submitted by Dina Horwedel, American Indian College Fund 

Denver, Colo.—September 8, 2017– Home ownership, like education, are considered to be both an investment and part of the American dream. But these paths to a strong future have not always been accessible to American Indian people.

Home ownership has been problematic because not all lenders could or can provide loans for people living on reservations or federal trust lands.

As for higher education, federal government statistics show that only 13.8% of American Indians and Alaska Natives age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with nearly 30% for all other groups. Affordability is a major reason for this disparity.

But now thanks to 1st Tribal Lending, an administrator of a federal program called The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program, American Indian and Alaska Native families, Alaska Villages, Tribes, or Tribally Designated Housing Entities can access financing for properties both on and off Native lands. The program was enacted by the Office of Loan Guarantee within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Native American Programs, which guarantees the Section 184 home mortgage loans made to Native Borrowers. Financing is available for new construction, rehabilitation, purchase of an existing home, or refinancing. This program makes it possible for lenders to serve Native Communities both on and off the reservation, helping to increase the marketability and value of Native assets and financially strengthen Native communities.

1st Tribal Lending has supported the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund), a national nonprofit which provides access to higher education for Native people, to get a college education, for more three years, giving a percentage of its closing costs to the College Fund. This year they announced they are renewing their commitment to Native higher education with a gift of $66,000.

“It’s a perfect match,” said Darkfeather Ancheta, HUD 184 Tribal Advocate/Outreach, of 1st Tribal Lending. We are a Native organization that helps Native people get into their homes, and if we can help the American Indian College Fund help Native people get an education, this also helps with economic development—it’s a perfect synergy.

It’s a huge help to Natives to support their education. I personally know people who are trying to finish their education that do not have the resources to pay for it. One tiny grant can make or break a student. We think supporting the College Fund is a wonderful opportunity because graduates will use their educations to get into a job, create a life, and help their communities. And once they take this step, we can help people finance their dream home,” Ancheta said. “When our customers benefit, we all benefit in our country.”

Robin Máxkii, a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee nation who graduated from Salish Kootenai College with a degree in psychology and is planning to earn her master’s degree in the fall, is one of many Native students 1st Tribal Lending has helped to support through the College Fund. Thanks to scholarship support, in addition to attending college Máxkii has been able to enjoy college-related activities such as serving internships with the National Science Foundation; an invitation to the White House, MIT, and Google; and she has appeared on the television series Codetrip Nation for students to discover technology opportunities as part of Roadtrip Nation.

Máxkii said, “Thanks to 1st Tribal Lending and the American Indian College Fund’s generous support, I am the first in my family to attend college. Growing up in a less privileged community has not only offered financial and academic challenges, but has also helped me realize the value of a college education. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been and still be able to attend these institutions which wouldn’t be possible without the support of your organization. My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from scholarship sponsors like you. Thank you for enabling this opportunity!”