Makah Tribe Celebrates Sail River Longhouse Apartments Opening

Tribe’s first permanent supportive housing development to provide health care, jobs and counseling programs to formerly homeless families and individuals

NEAH BAY, Wash. (September 9, 2014) – The Makah Tribal Council joined community leaders, residents and development partners to celebrate the recent opening of the Sail River Longhouse Apartments, the tribe’s first permanent, supportive housing. Formerly homeless families and individuals will live in the 21 affordable apartments and benefit from access to tribal health care, employment and counseling programs.

“My fellow Makah council members and I believe that housing, when combined with supportive services will provide families with a new beginning full of hope that they can overcome past barriers to their self-sufficiency,” said Timothy J. Greene, Sr., Makah Tribal Council chairman.

Built to Washington state Evergreen standards, the two-story garden-style building wraps around a courtyard and smaller community building. The Sail River Longhouse is near the recently opened tribal wellness center, the first building in the future Makah health care campus, and located west of a planned community garden.

“I commend the Makah Tribe for taking this step in fulfilling the needs of this vulnerable, and often underserved population,” U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell said. “Coupling housing and services within a supportive community provides opportunity for these residents to dramatically improve their lives and their children’s future. I will continue working to ensure tribes have tools like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to help provide safe and affordable housing for those in need.”

Sail River Longhouse is funded with a $1.2 million loan from the Washington State Trust Fund, $3.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity syndicated by Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., $500,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank, a $350,000 predevelopment loan from Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc., and $263,000 from tribal resources. The $101,000 operating subsidy is provided by the Makah Tribe and the Tribe’s Indian Housing Block Grant funded through HUD’s Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act.

“Housing insecurity is an increasing problem for more families today, but the challenge is even greater for residents on tribal lands who face a chronic shortage of subsidized housing,” said M.A. Leonard, vice president and Pacific Northwest market leader of Enterprise Community Partners, the parent company of Enterprise Community Investment. “We are proud to partner with the Makah in bringing housing credit equity to build quality, affordable homes in Neah Bay.”

The Longhouse is in the center of Sail River Heights, a mixed-income, mixed-use subdivision that eventually will include 72 owner-occupied single-family homes, 16 market-rate rental townhomes apartments and a community center. The comprehensive housing plan is 10 years in the making, as the housing authority and tribal council researched and considered the best approach for the Makah.

“We learned from the best practice of tribes from across the country,” noted Wendy Lawrence, housing director for the Makah. “Because of their work, we celebrate the opening of the Longhouse, homeownership for 13 Makah families and six new owner-occupied homes under construction.”

About the Makah Tribe

The Makah Tribe has called the Neah Bay, Wash. area home since time immemorial. The name Makah was attributed to neighboring tribes and means “people generous with food” in the Salish language. The reservation is located on a portion of the original tribal land as a result of a U.S. Treaty ratified in 1859. The Makah Council is the elected governing body and operates under a constitution and bylaws dated May 16, 1936.  For more history and information on the Makah, visit

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