Lumbee Tribe wants Section 8 housing

Bob Shiles Staff writer

October 6, 2013

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners will be asked Monday by the Lumbee Tribe to allow the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs to operate as a public housing agency throughout Robeson County.

In a letter from Ed Brooks, the tribe’s attorney, to County Manager Ricky Harris, Brooks said that the tribe wants Section 8 vouchers for tribal elders to reduce their monthly rental costs. According to Brooks, the tribe has been approved by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to construct a 50-unit senior housing subdivision, currently being referred to as Pembroke Senior Village. The units are designed to provide tribal members 62 years and older a “subsidized alternative for housing,” the letter said.

“While various housing authorities in Robeson County use Section 8 rental vouchers for properties throughout the county, the Lumbee Tribe seeks the assistance of the county to bring new vouchers into the county to supplement those currently available within the county,” Brooks said in his letter. ‘“In 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development designated the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs as a recipient of several hundred vouchers for Indian people. The vouchers … are designated for those counties in which state-recognized tribes reside, to the exclusion of Robeson County.”

According to Brooks, the Lumbee Tribe is working with the state Commission of Indian Affairs to make their assigned Section 8 vouchers available to tribal people residing in North Carolina.

“To make this possible, the tribe needs the county to authorize the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs to operate as a public housing agency, including its HUD Section 8 housing programs, within and throughout Robeson County,” Brooks said.

In other business, the commissioners on Monday will:

— Hear a presentation by Loistine DeFreece, chairwoman of the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education, concerning Robeson County Career and Technical Education.

— Hear a presentation from Janet Robertson, of the Lumber River Council of Governments, concerning the county’s Public Transportation Plan.

— Consider a request that a Governor’s Highway Safety Grant for the Sheriff’s Office be approved.

— Hold a public hearing on a request to support a business considering either locating or expanding its operations in Robeson County. The economic development project is being called “‘Project Cartoon.’”

The business would invest $9 million in equipment and machinery, and create five jobs paying an average wage of $23.62 an hour plus benefits.

— Consider several requests for conditional-use permits.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the county administration building on North Elm Street.