Gun Lake Tribe Constructs Homes for Elderly
The Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomie Indians recently completed construction on nine homes for tribal elders on a block in its Bradley, Michigan-based reservation, reported The Allegan County News. Deemed “The Settlement,” the housing will first be offered to tribal members of more than 50 years of age who currently reside throughout west Michigan. The 400-member tribe claims about 80 elders, many of whom lack the means to live on the tribe’s homeland of more than a century.
Unveiled at an open house on March 31, the homes were built with nearly $2.5 million in grants, largely from 2009 federal stimulus money through the Indian Housing Block Grant. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs' Indian Reservation Road Program (IRR) contributed approximately $440,000 to pave the road and for grading, sidewalks, decorative trees and streetlights, according to The Allegan County News.
The homes do not include stairs and have wheelchair-friendly door frame widths to meet the needs of some elderly. The two- and three-bedroom homes on The Settlement also feature some “green” amenities, such as geothermal heating systems, efficient windows and on-demand water heaters.
The Gun Lake tribe will maintain ownership of the homes. Residents will pay rent relative to what they earn--30 percent of their income--and cover utility bills. The tribe will take care of home maintenance fees and plow snow from the road, stated The Allegan County News.
The goal was to create a community environment, said tribal housing director Melissa Brown. “That’s why there are big front porches, so people can gather with each other," she told The Allegan County News. "We plan to make sure there are community events, such as trick-or-treating during Halloween.”