Just under half a million dollars was awarded last week to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) through an annual grant for affordable housing.

The tribe is one of hundreds across the country that receives the funding from the Indian Housing Block Grant, which is administered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, to support its affordable housing needs. A total of $651 million was awarded to 636 tribes in 34 states this year.

This year the Aquinnah tribe received about $462,000, while the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on the Cape received about $619,000.

Will Marden, housing administrator for the tribe, said that despite the high cost of living in Aquinnah, there are no other housing authorities on the Island that offer low-income rentals. This year’s federal grant will support the continued maintenance of the tribe’s 30 low-income buildings.

Four fewer homes were included in the grant this year because some tenants had completed payments through a rent-to-own program. There is generally one family per dwelling.

The grant benefits primarily low-income families and may be used for housing development and services, crime prevention and safety, and model activities that find creative ways to address affordable housing problems, according to HUD.

The block grant approach is based on each population’s size and need, and was enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996. The first grant in Aquinnah was awarded in 1998, and the program has been critical to helping meet the tribe’s housing needs.

An additional $81,000 was awarded this year through the federal Indian Health Service and will be used to install water meters in the buildings to monitor for leaks. Mr. Marden said the tribe’s ongoing conservation efforts have opened to the door to other grants for upgrades and maintenance. But the annual block grants remain the critical piece of the puzzle.

“With government cuts, it’s making it difficult to find other grants that pertain and would actually be effective for the tribe,” Mr. Marden said. “It’s not as easy as it used to be 25 years ago.” The block grants cover about five-eighths of the cost of the affordable units, with the rest covered mostly by rental fees.

HUD says it aims to provide $748 million next year “to address critical housing and community development needs in Native American communities,” including $660 million through the block grant program.