Opinion » Note

Paying for Programs to Help the Homeless

How two homeless programs have made ends meet


Two pieces of news this week revolve around local efforts to combat homelessness—specifically, the ongoing challenge of paying for services to help people get off the streets.

On Page 6, Boise Weekly Staff Writer Harrison Berry investigated changes to the funding structure for a triplex that offers transitional supportive housing in Boise's West End neighborhood. Called Threshold Crossing, the program had been paid for with funds from Housing and Urban Development. However, in a shift toward permanent supportive housing, the agency has put in place new rules that make facilities like Threshold Crossing ineligible for the federal funds they once received.

Looking at a $25,000 shortfall, Threshold Crossing and NeighborWorks, which administers the program, had to look elsewhere—the city of Boise came to the rescue. It's not a permanent solution, however, as the allocation was only approved for one year.

Meanwhile, also on Page 6, BW News Editor George Prentice reports on another homelessness services provider that has run into money trouble. The Boise Rescue Mission earlier this month announced that due to a contractor's bankruptcy, the nonprofit, faith-based shelter was down more than $350,000 for the year—potentially threatening its continued survival. Again, the community stepped up to bridge the gap, with donations pouring in from businesses and individuals.

"This is the most generous community on the face of the earth," said Mission CEO Rev. Bill Roscoe.

Generous though our area residents may be, the precariousness of funding sources for these organizations underscores the need for stability in order to ensure their critical work can be accomplished into the future.