25 new homes offer Tulalip tribal members small luxuries

TULALIP — Twenty-five new homes for Tulalip tribal members are scheduled to open this fall. The homes will offer small luxuries that have often been missing from homes on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

Mission Highlands on Waterworks Road, which runs just above Tulalip Bay, will include homes of different styles and sizes, with garages, high-quality flooring and more inside space, said Les Parks of the tribes’ housing department.

“They’re just altogether better homes,” he said. “They’re not the cracker boxes that we’ve built in years past.”

The construction project is the first the tribes’ housing department has begun since it was investigated for inappropriate spending and embezzlement by federal Housing and Urban Development officials. The department’s funds — about $6 million earmarked for the construction and upkeep of tribal homes — were made available to tribal leaders about a year ago.

The homes are being built with the help of a tax credit program, Parks said. Once the houses are finished, the housing department will be required to reserve some of the homes for low-income, disabled and homeless American Indians, whether members of the Tulalip Tribes or members of other tribes. Some of the homes will also go to middle-income Indians, he said.

The area of the development was logged and replanted by tribal employees some 30 years ago, Parks said. Now, there are full-grown trees that will give the development a forested feel.

The construction project is the first of many the tribes’ housing department is planning, Parks said.

The Tulalip Tribes alone has a list of about 300 people who are either homeless or living in substandard housing who are waiting for new homes.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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