Although FDDC’s primary expertise has been in individual housing lending, after a variety of successful larger housing-development projects, Four Directions is looking to continue to play a role in developing and financing larger-scale community development projects. Housing development activities complement FDDC’s existing housing program by building upon long-standing, positive relations with Tribal Housing Authorities to address housing shortages on and off reservation.
Four Directions has played key roles in housing development over the last decade. One of FDDC’s early roles in tribal housing development involved the Cuspes Park project, where Four Directions served as a general partner for what became the first low-income tax credit project on tribal land in the state of Maine. Cuspes Park is an apartment community of 28 assisted rental units on the Passamaquoddy reservation at Pleasant Point. Four Directions also joined in three critical participation loans to help the Penobscot Nation meet housing demand on a larger scale. The first, a 2008 FDDC loan for $250,000, helped underwrite Wenona’s Place—a 16 unit pair of affordable housing apartment buildings. The second and third participation loans totaled $487,500 and supported a tribal housing department project on the Penobscot reservation known as “Lot 13.” These twelve LEED Gold-Certified stand-alone units are low-impact, low-operating cost single family homes. They are the feature of the video below:
In the fall of 2015, Four Directions also provided an interim construction participation loan of $109,900 to assist the Micmac tribe in building a new community wellness center that will house their Head Start program and offer programming for elders and other community members. FDDC has recently partnered with the Genesis Fund, a Maine CDFI, to gain additional experience in providing housing development loan products.
Community Development Partnerships: The Wabanaki Housing Circle
Four Directions also facilitates the Wabanaki Housing Circle. The Housing Circle is an annual forum for tribal housing staff, bankers, federal and state agencies, and other community developers interested in examining programs, trends, and opportunities to meet the affordable housing needs of tribal communities. Regular communication as part of the Housing Circle has given Four Directions valuable insight on all of the tribal housing development projects, as well as those conducted by non-tribal entities across the state through various government programs.