2021 Awardee – Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Housing Solutions Study

Smart Housing Strategies Award: For creative plans, policies, programs and/or actions

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Housing Solutions Study determined housing requirements for tribal elders, families, transitional households, and a casino and resort workforce. The study exceeded planning principles for public participation and provided four strategic actions to be taken by the Tribe in the creation of a tribal housing plan which was created using grant funding awarded by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA).

A combination of strong outreach to the community and good planning options eventually led to a unanimous adoption of the housing strategies by the Tribal Council. Ron Allen, the Tribe’s chairman and CEO, called the plan a long-term, seven-generation vision for housing in the community.

According to the Luke Strong-Cvetich, the Tribe’s planning director, meaningful engagement and input from the community was the most important part of the project.

“Linda (Breener) and I aren’t tribal members, we’re staff… Who are we to decide what’s cultural appropriate or culturally relevant when it comes to tribal members and residents,” said Strong-Cvetich. “We need to be aggressive listeners and try to understand what those pieces are, and not assume that we know.”

Extensive surveys were conducted and data collection was gathered from tribal members, both local and abroad. Outreach for the project extended to focus groups, workshops and open houses with tribal members and community stakeholders representing non-profits, cities and counties.

The project took a unique approach to identify culturally acceptable housing solutions using an innovative housing marketplace concept to define a variety of options for tribal members. This approach recruited the most innovative developers of cottage, modular and cargo container housing products within the Puget Sound region.

Developers were provided background information on the Tribe’s housing needs along with a detailed list of issues to be addressed in the local marketplace sessions. The outreach model allowed feedback from the community to be incorporated on all the right elements to achieve buy-in and support for the plan to move forward. Subsequently, they created housing and site development concepts acceptable to a wide array of stakeholders.

From a planning perspective, the study results correspond to the community’s comprehensive plan goals, including:

  • Multigenerational housing will allow parents, grandparents, children and extended relatives to live in the same communities.
  • Age-in-place support for elders to continue living with their children.
  • Environmental inclusion where natural habitats are retained.
  • Sacred site protection.
  • Cultural aesthetics using natural materials, design and artworks reflected in the package of housing options.
  • Transitional housing supporting those in need of social service programs.
  • Affordability through cottage and modular construction to reduce prices and rents.
  • Inclusiveness for non-tribal members as capacity allows.

This project took more than just good planning. It required the support of members of the tribe to break through barriers and truly engage the community. With the help of people like Tribal elder Michal Lowe, staff were able to build trust to construct a proposal with good community engagement and a strong commitment to the final results.

“It’s our culture, it’s our traditions, and it’s our way of life,” said Allen.

  • Ron Allen – Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman and CEO
  • Linda Brenner – Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Social and Community Services Planner
  • Luke Strong-Cvetich – Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Planning Director
  • Michal Lowe – Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Elder
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