WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 31, 2010, 07:48 PM

Some Homes Not Safe On Spirit Lake Nation

Housing is important and if your home is not safe..you probably wont feel comfortable living there.

Well the Spirit Lake Tribe is having a problem with unsafe housing but they're working to fix that.

Officials from Washington D.C. have been in Fort Totten the past couple days looking at the exact problems the Spirit Lake Nation Tribe is having with housing.

Ruth Ann Norton, the Executive Director for the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative is heading the project.

She says, "clearly we have a direct health impact that's going on with the houses."

Lead, asbestos, and mold.

No insulation, no hand rails,these homes are not North Dakota winter ready.

"I think I saw very fixable problems, but very serious problems," said Norton

The houses were brought in from the Grand Forks and Minot Air Force bases.

At the time there were no concerns...because housing was scarce.

Now the condition of some of the homes needs to be taken care of..and fast.

Norton says "it's overwhelmingly immediate and I wouldn't necessarily have my child or your child subjected to the condition."

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative has teamed up with the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and other organizations to help fix the problems.

"Really clearly concerned about the health impact on children. I met a number of kids with asthma," explains Norton

Norton says some of the houses may not even be worth fixing.

Norton stressed that, "the air base housing that was literally dumped here is substandard housing and we have to answer the questions of why that was allowed and is it the best use of our money."

And getting these houses fixed is important to the over-all health of the tribe.

"Where you live is a major source of your health today and of your life tomorrow," said Norton.

The Spirit Lake Nation Tribe has also received the Lead Capacity Grant.

It's for the amount of $100,000.

They were the only tribe in the nation to be given the money.