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2017-05-18 / Headlines

Council Supports Plans For Houses In Medicine Root

BY TOM CRASH
LCT CORRESPONDENT

PINE RIDGE - Wednesday, the tribal council voted 13-0-5 authorizing Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing to submit a $1 million Indian Community Development Block Grant(ICDBG) that if funded would go for the construction of five low rent homes in Medicine Root district.

“The ICDBG grant program is highly competitive, the tribe authorizes just one entity on the reservation to submit the proposal each year and Housing has a good track record getting the grant requests funded, seven of the last eight proposals have been funded,” said Vince Martin, co-executive director of OSLH, “because of land disputes in Medicine Root district, we had to move the five houses scheduled for the district out and assign them to other districts, two went to Pine Ridge and will be part of the VASH program and three went to Batesland and Wakpamni district.”

The grant request requires a 30% match, about $300,000; the proposal gets submitted in May, first round of decisions are made in June with awards made in August and actual monies in October or later. Although the five houses will not be Title VI homes, they will be managed by Lakota Properties and have the same income and payment requirements.

In 2015, Housing landed a Title VI loan of $6.8 million to build 45 low rent homes, five per district. Additional monies to complete the Title VI homes included $3.1 million from NAHASDA and USDA. Currently 35 homes have been completed and have tenants. By the end of May, 40 of the 45 homes will be completed and be occupied; three homes in Wanblee were vandalized, repairs cost $27,000, all five of the Eagle Nest district homes will be finished and occupied by May 31. General contractor for the project was O’Bryan Construction with the state operating as a subcontractor, building the three bedroom Governor homes, transporting them to the reservation and repairing any of the damages caused by the move to the reservation.

Lakota Properties was created to change attitudes, we had different circumstances, we were making a loan, a loan that had to be paid back, added Martin, things had to change, applications included financial backgrounds, looked at track records when paying bills, it was an educational process; so far we have 35 families in the Title VI homes and our collections are at 100%. If the board approves any future housing projects, they will go under Lakota Properties.

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