Tribe is raising the roof for families

SUQUAMISH — During the next four years, the Suquamish Tribe hopes to be able to provide a higher quality of life for some of its members, including giving them a roof over their heads.

The tribe’s Department of Community Development recently announced the start of construction of the first six of 24 houses that will be built on a 14-acre tract between Suquamish Way, Balzow Road and Angeline Avenue. The six houses are expected to be completed and ready for occupancy by December 2004. The remaining 18 homes will be built during the next four years.

The project has been on the books since 1996 but it has been delayed because the tribe had to purchase the land, transfer it into trust status and develop the infrastructure. Despite the delay, tribal officials believe the development will give younger families a running start.

“It gives a lot of young families stability,” said tribal spokesman Leonard Forsman. “This batch of housing seems to have the youngest parents — it (provides) a stable house to raise their children.”

If the families are not already living on the reservation, the project offers them an opportunity to move closer and have access to tribal services in addition to jobs, cultural events and an opportunity to be a part of the community, Forsman said.

While 40 people are on the waiting list for homes, this is the only housing project currently available.

“This is the one that will have to absorb our need right now,” Forsman said.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development paid for the project with Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act and Indian Community Development Grant funds.

The development is being built under the direction of the Suquamish Tribal Housing Program, which assists tribal members with purchasing homes. Other projects similar to the Angeline Housing development include Sackman, off Totten Road, and Eaglesmere, a nine-house development off Brockton Avenue.

While the entrance to the subdivision is called Little Cedar Lane, the name of the subdivision has not yet been determined.

Womer and Associates Architects and Engineers of Bremerton designed the houses, which will be constructed by A-Plus Construction of Bremerton. ADA Engineering of Poulsbo designed the roads and utilities, which were constructed by Seton Construction of Port Townsend.

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