The American Indian community has had a presence in Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood since the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, when Native Americans were encouraged to leave their reservations to assimilate into the general population.
The city had the highest concentration of urban American Indians in the country in the 1960s and 1970s, and many have remained in the Phillips neighborhood over the years. The aging elders wanted to stay in the neighborhood and needed affordable homes where they could age in place. CommonBond Communities and the American Indian Community Development Corp. have partnered to make that vision a reality for the American Indian elders and other low-income seniors.
Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi, which means “come in, rest” in Ojibwe, is providing 47 units for seniors 62 and older earning 50 percent or less of the area median income. Project rental assistance contracts allow for residents to only pay 30 percent of their income toward rent.
“Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi provides dignified homes for American Indian elders wanting to stay close to family and cultural, service, and infrastructure amenities,” says Paul Fate, president and CEO of CommonBond. “It has also proven to be an important piece of the overall community revitalization strategy for the Phillips neighborhood.”
The $8.8 million project, which was completed in October, was financed with $6.8 million in Sec. 202 funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additional financing came from the city of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines through member Woodlands National Bank. It is the first Sec. 202 project to be built in Minneapolis within the past 10 years.