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Now, There's Only One CATCH

Boise officials quietly pull the plug on CATCH

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First there was one CATCH, then two, now one again.

Following more than a year of confusion (BW, News, "One Name. Identical Mission," Oct. 3, 2012), the city of Boise has decided to shut down its taxpayer-funded CATCH program, clearing the way for CATCH, Inc., an independent nonprofit with the same intentions, to continue its innovative program of providing long-term housing to homeless families.

Both programs had the same mission and even the same name: CATCH is an acronym for Charitable Assistance for Community's Homeless. But after Greg Morris, who founded the city of Boise's program, left City Hall in November 2011, he immediately began working on creating CATCH, Inc. Headquartered on Boise's Americana Boulevard, it has since expanded to include offices in Meridian, Nampa and, in November, a Twin Falls operation.

"All programs combined, we served approximately 75 families this year," Morris told Boise Weekly. "In 2014, we're projecting to serve 100 more families."

Meanwhile, the city of Boise has stopped taking applicants for its own version of CATCH.

"Yes, the city's CATCH program is winding down," Jim Birdsall, the city of Boise's Housing and Community Development manager, told BW. "I think we have two families left in the program and they should be graduating very soon."

Birdsall, who acknowledged that city officials were aware of the confusion between the two CATCH programs, said the city will take its CATCH budget--nearly $150,000--and divert the funds to a new grant program in which monies will be doled out to community organizations that deal with homelessness.

"The mayor and Council felt this would be a more effective way to use those resources," said Birdsall. "We're anticipating individual grants in the $30,000-$50,000 range."

Ironically, CATCH, Inc., might be eligible to compete for one of those grants, but Morris said his organization would wait to see what the city's criteria would be to secure the funds.

"Homelessness requires involvement from all of us: our faith communities, our business communities and our government. They all need to be involved," said Morris.

Meanwhile, Boise's government will be altering its own involvement, with more grants and less program management.