- Harrison Berry
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and leaders of numerous Boise-area nonprofits are set to announce new permanent housing programs to help address homelessness in the City of Trees.
The programs, expected to be unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 9, will include creating housing-first and supportive housing options, rapid rehousing solutions and an expansion of affordable housing options. They are designed to move the chronically homeless into permanent housing and serve as a launching place for other services like legal, mental health, and substance abuse counseling and treatment.
Bieter will join Idaho Housing and Finance Association President and Executive Director Gerald Hunter, Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority Executive Director Deanna Watson, CATCH Executive Director Wyatt Schroeder and Terry Reilly Health Services CEO Heidi Traylor for the formal announcement. The new initiatives are the result of the Roundtable on Housing and Homelessness, which includes more than 40 members representing nonprofits, businesses, churches and other faith and advocacy groups, and local government.
An announcement of the new city programs has been awaited since November 2015, when officials hinted at "Your Front Door," a collaboration between the city and other partners.
"But we're close to moving from the stage of this being a concept to names being signed on the dotted line," said Boise Community Partnerships Director Diana Lachiondo in November.
At the time, however, the city was wrestling with another high-profile issue related to homelessness: Cooper Court. Shortly after discussing Your Front Door, the city cleared the tent city, sparking protests as well as a crowdfunding campaign on the part of nonprofit groups to secure public records on how the city spent nearly $300,000 removing people from Cooper Court.
The announcement of the housing-first programs takes place days after a memorial service for former Cooper Court resident Perry "Rusty" Woodard, who was found dead Feb. 1 in Julia Davis Park.