Federal funding secured for Suquamish affordable housing project

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer recently voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes over $1.5 million in federal funding for the Suquamish Shores Enetai Project.

The almost $1.62 million project will help create affordable housing townhomes on the Suquamish Tribe’s Native American Reservation. The Enetai Project, which is receiving Community Project Funding, calls for construction of the new housing complex, a Kilmer news release states.

Approximately 20 affordable townhomes would be constructed on Suquamish Shores, which recently returned to tribal hands. Development aims to further enhance progress made toward rebuilding the original center of the Suquamish Tribe, as well as improve infrastructure, per the tribal master plan.

“Across our region, we need more affordable housing – including for native communities,” Kilmer said. “These projects will not only help ensure more members of the Suquamish Tribe can return to their ancestral homelands but also help ease housing challenges for non-tribal citizens who live nearby.”

The Suquamish People continue to live in the place of their ancestors and practice their traditional lifeways on the Port Madison Reservation, the news release says. Over the last 20 years, the tribe has experienced a cultural resurgence, devoting time and resources to the creation of a series of culturally significant buildings on the reservation.

The revitalization has led to growth in the number of tribal citizens who desire to live in their ancestral homelands – and over time, the number of tribal members trying to secure affordable housing on the reservation has risen to approximately 80 to 100 families.

Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman said, “Our tribal citizens deserve and should be able to live on their ancestral homelands.” The Enetai Project was supported by Bainbridge Island Councilmember Leslie Schneider and Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson.