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Siletz Indians Secure More Funding For Portland Housing Project

Eight of Oregon’s federally recognized tribes received over $15 million in annual funds for affordable housing from the federal government.  The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians will use their $4 million grant to reduce homelessness in urban spaces.

The Siletz have two projects, one will provide housing near Lincoln City, and another in Portland will give preference to Native American renters. A first for state’s largest city.

“Portland is one the areas that we hear time and again that there’s a significant homeless population, and particularly of Native people," said Sami Jo Defuntorum, the executive director of the Siletz Tribal Housing Department.

"It’s really hard to get a handle on [homelessness] and to get like a clear accounting,” she said. The housing project is called Nesika Illahee, which means ‘Our Place’ in the Chinook language.

The complex will have 59 units. 20 of those, Defuntorum said, will be reserved for Siletz Tribal members. The project is expected be completed by January 2020.

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.