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Baranof Island Housing Authority Undertakes Tribal Housing Needs Assessment

Baranof Island Housing Authority is conducting a comprehensive assessment of Tribal housing needs in Sitka in partnership with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. The assessment will include a review of existing data, a community survey, interviews with key stakeholders, and data workshops. Research will be conducted by Juneau-based Rain Coast Data, which has completed several recent housing needs assessments in the region.

BIHA’s last housing needs assessment was conducted in 2017, when housing and home energy costs and the cost of developing new housing were significantly lower.

“Rapidly increasing costs present a very big challenge to our mission of serving our Tribal community,” says Cliff Richter, Executive Director of BIHA. “Having more information on the current needs of Tribal households will improve our ability to seek and secure funding for housing programs and housing development.”

STA General Manager Lisa Gassman, and STA Tribal Council have supported the current project as an important step in meeting the needs of Tribal Citizens. Gassman draws attention to the most recent strategic planning for STA explaining that, “Expanding affordable housing and housing improvement programs was the top objective identified in the Sitka Tribe of Alaska 2022 Strategic Plan, so understanding the housing needs of our citizens is also a top priority. Tribal Council is happy to be able to support this project with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act”

Research for the project began in July 2023, and a comprehensive survey of Tribal households will run through November 21, 2023. The survey is open to all STA Tribal Citizens regardless of where they live, and to other Alaska Native and American Indian residents of Sitka. Recognizing that many households may have challenges in accessing online surveys, both BIHA and STA are providing in-person assistance to eligible households.

Results will be available in the first quarter of 2024.