New affordable housing complex opens in Neah Bay

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NEAH BAY — The Makah tribe's first permanent supportive housing complex has opened in Neah Bay.

The Tribal Council joined community leaders, residents and developers to celebrate the Aug. 25 opening of the Sail River Longhouse Apartments.

Formerly homeless families and individuals will live in 21 affordable apartment units and benefit from access to tribal health care, employment and counseling programs, officials said.

“My fellow Makah council members and I believe that housing, when combined with supportive services, will provide families with a new beginning full of hope that they can overcome past barriers to their self-sufficiency,” said Timothy J. Greene Sr., chairman of the Makah Tribal Council.

Longhouse, courtyard

Built to state standards, the two-story garden-style longhouse building wraps around a courtyard and a smaller community building.

The longhouse is near the recently opened tribal wellness center, the first building in the future Makah health care campus, and located west of a planned community garden.

Sail River Longhouse is funded with a $1.2 million loan from the Washington State Trust Fund, $3.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity syndicated by Enterprise Community Investment Inc., $500,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank and $263,000 from tribal resources.

The $101,000 operating subsidy is provided by the Makah tribe and the tribe's Indian Housing Block Grant, funded through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, Enterprise officials said.

“Housing insecurity is an increasing problem for more families today, but the challenge is even greater for residents on tribal lands who face a chronic shortage of subsidized housing,” said M.A. Leonard, vice president and Pacific Northwest market leader of Enterprise Community Partners, the parent company of Enterprise Community Investment.

“We are proud to partner with the Makah in bringing housing credit equity to build quality affordable homes in Neah Bay.”

Sail River Heights

The longhouse is in the center of Sail River Heights, a mixed-income, mixed-use subdivision that eventually will include 72 owner-occupied single-family homes, 16 market-rate rental town-home apartments and a community center.

The comprehensive housing plan was researched and developed over 10 years.

“We learned from the best practice of tribes from across the country,” said Wendy Lawrence, Makah housing director.

“Because of their work, we celebrate the opening of the longhouse, homeownership for 13 Makah families and six new owner-occupied homes under construction.”

Said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell: “I commend the Makah tribe for taking this step in fulfilling the needs of this vulnerable and often underserved population.”

“Coupling housing and services within a supportive community provides opportunity for these residents to dramatically improve their lives and their children's future,” Cantwell added.

“I will continue working to ensure tribes have tools like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to help provide safe and affordable housing for those in need.”

Last modified: September 13. 2014 6:13PM
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