HOULTON, Maine — A few tribal members with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians will be eating their first Thanksgiving dinner in new homes now that the tribe has officially christened a new eight-unit apartment complex on tribal land.
The spacious, energy-efficient building is on Foxcroft Road. Tribal officials, community members and representatives from the state’s congressional delegation joined tribal members at a snowy ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the new complex Monday afternoon.
Aaron Greenlaw, director of the Maliseet Indian Housing Authority, welcomed the crowd to the facility. He said that some of the eight families would move into the building before Thanksgiving, and the remainder in the days afterward.
The $2 million project was financed by federal stimulus funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Each of the apartments is airy and spacious, equipped with new appliances and wood-paneled floors. A maintenance room also is a feature of the complex.
Greenlaw said that the tribe broke ground on the project in May, and construction was swift.
“We are very pleased with the results,” he said Monday.
The tribe has more than 200 people in its rental units.
The new complex and another six-unit housing facility that the tribe broke ground on last week will make a dent in the waiting list of families that are looking to move into tribal housing.
“We still have about 40 families on the list,” Greenlaw acknowledged. “But this will help.”
At this point, the band wants to build more housing but does not have the funding to do so.
The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has been federally recognized as a government by the United States since October 1980.