Tunica-Biloxi Tribe awarded grant to provide new housing for tribal families

In Marksville, the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana was awarded a multi-million dollar grant earlier this month to provide new housing for tribal families.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 2:36 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MARKSVILLE, La. (KALB) - The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana was awarded a multi-million dollar grant earlier this month to provide new housing for tribal families. For the tribe, receiving this grant means bringing back tribal families home.

“It’s going to be amazing,” said Stephanie Stiles, housing director for the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. “We’re bringing more families home to the reservation.”

The tribe was awarded $6.4 million to construct 19 new and affordable housing units in order to provide secure housing options, while addressing injustices in the neighborhood.

“They’re ecstatic because a lot of them, it’s only been a dream for them to move back to the reservation,” said Marshall Pierite, chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.

Pierite said families will have the opportunity to move back to the reservation and bring their heritage to life.

“Allowing them to reconnect with the tribal community and be part of not only the growth in our culture but also the economic growth that we are looking at bringing on to this community,” Pierite said.

The grant is part of a $128 million total grant to tribes across the nation through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Indian Housing Block Grant Project, which funds affordable housing activities such as new housing construction, rehabilitation and housing services. But, those families will not experience a one-size-fits-all house to live in.

“Some of them will be elder homes, some of them will be transitional housing, where either they’re coming through here and trying to get employment somewhere where we can help them, or they’re just purchasing the home because some of them will be lease-to-purchase also,” Stiles said.

The grant helps the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe with constructing homes for 19 families, addressing the housing scarcity and instability brought on by bad economic times and natural catastrophes.

“It’s gonna benefit the tribe because we have more people within the community, we have more voices that we hear,” said Stiles. “There’s a difference between a voice on a Zoom or an email or a call versus someone right here putting their voice and putting their voice into action.”

While the families have not been selected yet, this opportunity will bring those families back home.

“It is a game changer for these 19 families, a game changer for Tunica-Biloxi bringing them home, and also for the community – the non-tribal community perspective because bringing their knowledge and wisdom to the table is gonna help with the overall economic plan of the Tunica-Biloxi Nation,” said Pierite.

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