Published September 20, 2016
RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Monday announced funding to help the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians with infrastructure for four essential community facilities, ranging from public safety to health care and including funds to construct a new chemical dependency treatment center in wake of the rural opioid epidemic. Funding is provided through USDA’s Community Facilities program.
“Over the last seven years, USDA has worked closely with tribal leaders to support locally-driven solutions to improve economic opportunities in tribal areas by increasing access to education, health care, broadband and business development,” Vilsack said. “These four projects will help the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians ensure the health, safety, and well-being of its members and local communities well into the future.”
USDA Rural Development has awarded a $4,950,000 direct loan to Red Lake Band to build a new Chemical Dependency Treatment Center. The new 20,123-sq.-ft. facility will be equipped with 16 beds, group meeting rooms, and visitation areas – providing a safe, sanitary environment to help treat tribal members suffering from substance misuse and chemical dependency. In January, President Obama tapped Secretary Vilsack to lead an interagency task force focused on the rural opioid epidemic. Recent efforts have helped identify effective tools to reduce drug use and overdose, including evidence-based prevention programs, prescription drug monitoring, medication-assisted treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The funding for this treatment center is another example of the USDA’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic.
Red Lake Nation, located in Beltrami County of northwestern Minnesota, will receive a $2.2 million direct loan to construct a fire hall in the community of Ponemah, one of several communities located in the area. The new facility will offer state-of-the-art services including a training room, decontamination space, and enough space to house the Department’s fleet of trucks under one roof. This new facility will help the community of Ponemah increase response times and better meet the needs of the more than 700 local residents.
After 46 years, the fire department in the City of Red Lake has reached the end of its useful life and needs many repairs that are no longer economically feasible. Red Lake Band will receive a $2.8 million direct loan to construct a facility that will provide the resources necessary to serve the nearly 6,000 residents living on the reservation and serve as a back-up for the Ponemah fire department.
Finally, Red Lake Band will receive a $2,998,000 direct loan to increase its renal dialysis center from five to 12 units, increasing the capacity to treat local residents. This project will provide job opportunities at the local hospital and decrease travel time for patients currently having to travel more than 60 miles to get to the nearest facility.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.