Tribal Government & News

Tribe receives $500,000 grant to build transitional housing

03.31.2011 Ron Karten Housing

At a time when budget cutting is the loudest mantra coming out of Washington, D.C., the Grand Ronde Tribe received a $500,000 Indian Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The award to the Tribe was among competitive grants to Tribes and Alaska Native villages totaling $33.6 million.

The block grant will be used to design and build a transitional housing facility for women who have graduated from alcohol and drug treatment programs.

"We have a significant need for transitional housing for women in our community," Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said. "They are women who are completing drug and alcohol rehabilitation and need a home that is safe and helps them continue their commitment to live drug- and alcohol-free.

"It will also help women who are returning to the community after serving time in correctional institutions. They, too, need a place to live that is safe and will give them the shelter and time they need as they put their lives back on track."

The proposed 3,000-square-foot transitional housing project will house women and women with children and assist with their transition back into the community, and seek to break the cycle of addiction using behavioral health, alcohol and drug counseling, post-treatment services and cultural support.

Tribal Planning and Grants Manager Kim Rogers said the decision on the final location for the transitional housing facility has yet to be made.

The estimated total cost is $667,000 with the Tribe paying the other $167,000. Annual operation and maintenance costs are estimated at $30,000. Tribal Council approved the application for the grant in October.

The Tribe already has a transitional house for men.

Kennedy said the Tribe is "thrilled" to receive the grant for the transitional housing.

"We've received the award from HUD not only because we have a significant need for improved housing and economic development, but because the federal government respects the Tribe's ability to assess community need and to implement solutions for those needs," she said.

"The grant is significant not only because of its size, but because we received it at a time when the federal government is making so many cuts to the budget. All of us have been told not to expect any help from the federal government, but here we are receiving this grant."

Kennedy said the Grand Ronde Tribe received the grant not only because of the need, but because the Tribe has a national reputation for making "wise and efficient" use of federal grant money.

"Our work on the improved Grand Ronde Road is another example of this reputation," she said. "We are able to work with our community partners and state and federal partners."

The Tribe also received approval for a $500,000 youth activity addition that was an amendment of a previous project for recreational facilities since the Tribe was able to build a baseball field and Housing was able to build an outdoor basketball court.

The 2,432-square-foot youth activity addition will be added to the western end of the Tribe's Youth Education Building.

The Tribe will match the grant with $167,000 and estimated operating costs are $16,920 a year. Tribal Council approved applying for the grant amendment in March.

The youth activity addition will give Tribal youth a place to hang out when the Willamina School District goes to four-day school weeks in September.

The Indian Community Development Block Grant program was established in 1977 and supports a wide variety of community development and affordable housing activities for federally recognized Tribes.

"This funding helps our country's Native American and Alaska Native communities improve the living conditions for hard-working families who need the most help," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "This is an investment to promote neighborhood development, produce affordable housing and create much-needed jobs."