Tulalip Tribes use federal tax credits to build needed housing

With the help of a federal tax credit, the Tulalip Tribes in Washington are building 66 new homes on the reservation. The first eight of those homes are expected to be ready for people to move into by January. The rest are expected to be ready by October 2010.

The tribes already supply 267 publicly funded housing units, but 300 more families are on a waiting list, said Norma Razote, interim housing manager for the tribes.

The people at the top of the list have been waiting since 1997, Razote said.

These new homes won’t be able to accommodate everyone on the list, but they’re a big step, tribal citizens said at a dedication ceremony Monday.

The Tulalip Tribes applied for the $7.3 million tax credit through Raymond James, an investment firm. The firm got the tax credit for the tribes through KeyBank, which recently obtained $50 million in tax credits to distribute to tribes under its Native American financial services program.

The bank can deduct the credit from its taxes. For the tribes it acts as equity, and in 15 years the principal would be forgiven and the tribes would essentially own the housing.

The tribes also plan to build 25 more homes in 2010 with $1.2 million in federal economic stimulus funds acquired earlier this year and $1.3 million from another grant.

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