Bois Forte Band Hopes Housing Complexes Strengthen Community

By KBJR News 1

June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 8, 2012 at 8:23 PM CDT

Bois Forte Band Reservation (Northland's NewsCenter) - Homeless residents of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa have a new place to call home.

The band held a grand opening Thursday for two new housing complexes, called New Moon and Cedar Grove.

New Moon is a 20-unit complex for people experiencing long-term homelessness. Cedar Grove is a 16-unit complex intended to house band members who wish to come back to the reservation.

"Homelessness is a big problem," said Bois Forte Band Tribal Chairman, Kevin Leecy, "it's no different here at Bois Forte."

Band members are hoping they can initiate change. In addition to providing housing, the New Moon complex will offer services to get residents back on their feet.

"[We'll help with] Finding work, going back to school, maybe getting parenting skills," said New Moon Project and Tenant Coordinator, Theresa Drift.

The project has been in the works for several years. Tribal members said they hope it will help build the reservation community.

"It's about helping the individual and they help the community, which makes a better Bois Forte," said Leecy.

The Cedar Grove complex houses band members who are returning to the reservation and don't have a place to live.

"We moved here and didn't have housing," said returning member William Little Wolf, "We lived with my sister in law, who lives here on the reservation. She has a four bedroom house and there was nine of us in there."

Residents will move in to the New Moon complex at the end of the month. Bois Forte Band members receive priority placement in the program, but anyone is eligible.

The Bois Forte Band will hold a grand opening for another housing complex, called the Pineview Duplexes, Friday.

The total cost for all three housing projects was $10.1 million.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.