Red Lake Nation breaks ground on new low-income housing development in Minneapolis

Updated: September 14, 2019 10:38 PM

Tribal leaders with the Red Lake Nation broke ground Saturday on a new affordable housing complex, intended to provide stable housing for tribe members and other Native community members in Minneapolis.

The complex is being built on the footprint of the Navigation Center, a temporary homeless shelter that was open through the winter to meet the needs of a growing population of people living in tents along Hiawatha Avenue.

The development, named "Mino-bimaadiziwin," boasts 110 units, with more than a third of those available to the lowest income families. The complex also has two and three bedroom units, which housing officials say are in short supply across the city.

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"I think it's a beautiful arch to the story that where we are ending right now is the construction of stable and deeply affordable housing," said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey during the event.

The Red Lake Nation, who owns the land, said the $35.8 million complex will bring stable housing to many of the people who lived in the homeless encampment last winter.

"There was a lot of pain over there," said Sam Strong, who serves as secretary of the tribe. "Those are our brothers and sisters."

Mino-bimaadiziwin translates to "the good life" in Ojibwe. Strong said the project is the culmination of years of work. 

"This by no means is going to solve those disparities, but you got to start somewhere, and I think today was a really good start," Strong said.

In addition to the 110 units, the building will house the Red Lake Embassy and will house a mental health and substance abuse clinic for the community.

"You need that stable housing and then you need the wrap around services that supplements addiction treatment to ultimately allow people to take that next step," Mayor Frey said.

The tribe expects construction to start by the end of the month. They hope to open the housing complex by the end of 2020.

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Kirsten Swanson

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