After Heated Debate, Lewiston Council Slaps Moratorium on Homeless Shelters 

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  • Boise Weekly
As the city of Boise moves forward with its ambitious Housing First model, an effort to build a permanent shelter to address chronic homelessness, the city of Lewiston is moving in the other direction—putting a moratorium on homeless shelters of any kind.

According to the Lewiston Tribune, debate spilled into the hallway outside City Council chambers after local leaders voted Monday night to place a 182-day ban on any new or expanded shelters to serve the homeless. City officials insisted they needed to revisit zoning codes to accommodate shelters. Meanwhile, Lewiston Councilman Ryan Johnson—the only lawmaker to vote against the moratorium—argued the move might keep some homeless people from even trying to find shelter in the winter months to come.

The vote came in the wake of some residents in north Lewiston arguing a new soup kitchen near their homes attracted trouble. One resident told the Tribune that the newly-opened ROC Rescue Mission "contributed to problems like prostitution, burglaries and drug abuse in the neighborhood." Another resident urged caution, saying, "It's going to take our patience."

Ultimately, the Tribune reports the debate grew heated during a public hearing on the matter, but lawmakers approved the moratorium on a 5-1 vote.
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