HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians will tap into $2 million in federal stimulus money to expand housing for tribal members.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the money through the federal stimulus package. The Maliseets are to use it to improve housing, according to a joint announcement Wednesday by U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.
The tribe’s housing director, Aaron Greenlaw, said the money would be used to construct eight rental units.
“This is going to be a great addition to the 68 units we already have,” he said. “We currently have a waiting list for housing, so this is going to help alleviate the problem.”
The tribe, which became federally recognized in 1980, has more than 1,000 members.
Greenlaw said the tribe’s last major housing project was in 2002, when 18 single-family units were constructed.
He said 215 people live in tribal housing.
According to Greenlaw, about 45 people are on a waiting list, and additional housing “has always been a priority for us.”
“But the cost of construction materials has gone up, and it is not easy to afford to do such a significant project today,” he said.
Greenlaw said the project also would boost the local economy because the tribe wants to hire local contractors and buy material locally.
Greenlaw estimated that work to secure contractors and material would begin immediately.