The Swinomish Housing Authority has 16 rental homes now under construction, and the first houses will be move-in ready in June, housing authority officials said.
On the Swinomish reservation, an increasing number of families with several generations are living in frustratingly crowded conditions.
For the first time in 10 years, the Swinomish Housing Authority is able to do something to relieve the problem.
The agency has saved enough money to build an affordable-housing development intended to accommodate more individual family units and people with physical disabilities.
Sixteen rental homes are now under construction, and the first houses will be move-in ready in June, housing authority officials said.
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The authority hopes the development will help shrink its 40-family waiting list.
“We have young adults that need to get their own households now and to start their own families,” housing-authority board member Janet Wilbur said. “They’re all asking. They all want a new house.”
Ray Williams, another board member, said the biggest dilemma for families isn’t the slumping economy or the cost of housing, but rather the lack of housing on the reservation.
“Families are growing; our tribe is growing, too,” he said.
Several enrolled tribal members who have left the reservation also are looking to return, Wilbur said.
“They like the community and they want to stay here where the rest of their families are and raise their families in their own culture,” she said.
The two- and three-bedroom homes are being built in an area known as Tallawhalt Village, on Squi-Qui Lane.
The $3.7 million construction project is paid for by federal grants and stimulus money that the housing authority saved over time, Executive Director John Petrich said. Anacortes-based Strandberg Construction is building the homes.
This particular development is focused on smaller families and intended to accommodate those with disabilities.
Two of the homes will comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Petrich said.
The rest are built with accessilibility in mind, featuring wider doorways and hallways and level entries.
They’re also meant to be energy efficient.