SMSC Grant Helps Finance Housing for Leech Lake Ojibwe

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On the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota, 61% of children under the age of 18 are being raised by either their grandparents or great-grandparents. Many of them live in substandard homes. The Leech Lake Public Works Department conducted an assessment of housing on the reservation and found 494 substandard homes, many of them being older trailer homes built prior to the 1980s. These homes have thin walls, insufficient insulation, and some present a fire hazard.

To help provide new homes for tribal members, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has awarded a $1 million grant to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe for a housing project. The grant will enable the Band to purchase 14 modular housing units to begin the replacement of substandard housing in Leech Lake. The Band itself will devote $100,000 to the project to purchase an additional unit for a total of 15. Five homes will go to each of the reservation’s three districts.