Maliseets to build new health center, housing

14 years ago

By Elna Seabrooks
Staff Writer

    HOULTON — The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians recently broke ground to replace their current health center and add six new units of affordable housing with financial assistance from USDA Rural Development, Indian Health Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    The tribe will build a new state-of-the-art facility to accommodate the community’s need for centralized services and provide patients with adequate privacy. Currently, some services are in other buildings.     The new six-unit housing complex is the first multi-family housing facility funded by USDA Rural Development on Maliseet land. USDA Rural Development is providing a $1 million loan for the housing project and the tribe is contributing $142,264.
Contributed Photo
BU-MaliseetGrdbrkg-dclr-pt-48GROUNDBREAKING PROJECTS — On Nov. 15, during Native American Heritage Month, representatives of partner agencies broke ground on Maliseet land for two new projects. From left are: Scott Helgeson, Indian Health Services; Chief Brenda Commander, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Phil Bosse, office of Sen. Susan M. Collins; Virginia Manuel, USDA Rural Development; and William Burney, Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    State Director Virginia Manuel said: “USDA Rural Development has a saying that it can build a rural community from the ground up, and the same is true in Maine’s tribal communities. The new health center and multi-family housing will impact this community by providing quality health care and affordable housing for its members.”
    Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Chief Brenda Commander stated that “the two projects represent a significant milestone for the tribe, helping to promote a healthier community.”
    USDA Rural Development contributed a $250,000 Rural Economic Impact Initiative (REII) grant toward the new health facility. Other partners are Indian Health Service, which is investing $1.4 million in grant funds, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development which provided a grant in the amount of $600,000. The tribe also contributed $160,000 in the form of a cash contribution and land value.
    The new health facility has a projected completion date during June, 2011; the new housing units are on track for May, 2011.