On March 15, 2022 the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) submitted comments to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office for Victims of Crimes (OVC) in response to their December 13, 2021 correspondence seeking written comment on the Tribal Set-Aside from the Crime Victims Fund (Tribal Set-Aside) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside Formula grant program (TVSSA Program) is a key source of funding for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities working to enhance services for victims of crime, with over $532 million made available through FYs 18, 19, 20, and 21. NCUIH emphasized the critical services urban Indian organizations (UIOs) provide victims of crime and the importance of extending more funding opportunities for UIO.
Because many AI/AN victims of crime reside off reservations and because many seek care from Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs), NCUIH made the following specific comments, requests, and recommendations:
- DOJ should provide Congress with technical assistance to support expansion of the Tribal Set-Aside and TVSSA Program to include UIOs. Expansion of the percentage of the Tribal Set-Aside should be commensurate with inclusion of UIOs to ensure that funding to Tribes from the Tribal Set-Aside is not reduced.
- OVC should formally invite UIOs to all future events in the TVSSA program consultation process.
- OVC, and DOJ more broadly, should consider adopting an Urban Confer Policy.
- OVC must ensure that all AI/ANs are served by its funding opportunities by expanding its definition of eligible awardees for all programs to the broadest extent permissible by law.
NCUIH will continue to closely follow the DOJ OVC policies and opportunities for AI/AN communities. NCUIH will also continue to advocate for more funding opportunities for UIOs that provide services to victims of crimes.