Tribes get $1.4M for housing projects

Posted Aug. 31, 2010, at 10:56 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:53 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded more than $1.4 million to the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township for affordable housing initiatives, according to U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The grants are funded through the Indian Housing Block Grant program.

Aaron Greenlaw, the director of the Maliseet Indian Housing Authority, said Tuesday that the Maliseets would use their $500,537 share to continue programming within their housing administration and for maintenance of the band’s 68 rental units.

Indian Township Gov. William Nicholas said Tuesday that the Passamaquoddys would use their $915,585 to continue operation of that tribe’s housing project.

Greenlaw said that the Maliseets apply yearly for the funding to support ongoing actions of the administration.

“We have more than 200 people in our rental units, and we offer them programs and we also have to maintain the units,” he said. “We use this money to do that. We operate a down payment assistance and home ownership program and other initiatives.”

Greenlaw said that the $500,537 allocation is the most the tribe has received in a number of years. The tribe usually garners $50,000 to $60,000.

At this point, he said, the band wants to build more housing but does not have the funding to do it. The Maliseets are building 14 more housing units, but they have a waiting list of close to 45 families who are seeking housing on tribal lands.

Nicholas said no new housing construction is planned at Indian Township and that the funding will be used to administer and maintain the affordable housing that the tribe now operates.

Snowe and Collins said that they were pleased the tribes would receive the funding.

“In this harsh economy with record foreclosures, it is vital that we provide affordable housing support to low-income communities across the country,” they said in a joint statement. “These funds not only provide decent housing for families, but also develop economic opportunities for local Native American communities.”

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has been federally recognized as a government by the United States since October 1980.

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