Photo caption: Raymond Lasley dances on WWII Veteran Raymond Lasley Sr.'s song at the Gray Horse War Mothers annual Soldier Dance on May 12 at the Grayhorse Indian Village. SHANNON SHAW DUTY/Osage News
The Osage Nation is joining other tribes in signing a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to allow eligible Osage and other Native American veterans direct home loans.
On Oct. 19, the Nation announced the MOU partnership with the VA so eligible Native American veterans may apply for home loans through the VA’s Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program, which started in 1992.
According to the NADL website, this program provides eligible Native American Veterans and their spouses the opportunity to use their VA home loan guaranty benefit on Federal trust land for financing the purchase, construction or improvements of homes.
After signing the MOU, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said in a statement: “The Osage Nation is proud to present this opportunity to our Native American veterans. They have served our country and we need to do more to serve them.”
Some advantages of the program include no down payment, no private mortgage insurance, low closing costs, and a low fixed interest rate. The NADL program is not a grant, so the loan must be repaid, the statement added.
According to the ON Office of the Chiefs, the Nation currently has about 22,000 enrolled Osages and 1,135 are veterans. Many of these veterans have been waiting years for an opportunity such as the NADL program.
“It is a great benefit to our Native American veterans who have trust or restricted land that will allow them to go to the VA for home improvements, handicap accessibility, and new construction. This will also allow the Native American veterans to keep their land in trust or restriction,” said Johnny Williams, an Osage Army veteran, who served as a Special Forces Combat Medic in Vietnam.
From the Nation’s Legislative Branch, Osage Congressman and Army veteran John Maker also applauded the NADL program. “I think this is a great and wonderful thing for Osage veterans to give them a chance to have their own place because I do know that all veterans have a hard time and a lot are homeless,” Maker said in the statement.
For more information or to start the NADL application process, Native American Veterans can go online to www.eBenefits.va.gov to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility or submit a paper application (VA Form 26-1880) found at http://go.va.gov/vvge to the VA. They can also contact the VA to get more information and begin the loan application process.
The Osage Nation Office for Financial Assistance also has information on this program and can be reached (918) 287-5325 and is located in the Welcome Center at the ON campus in Pawhuska.