Boise, IHFA to Enter $5.75 Million Housing First Homeless Program Agreement 

click to enlarge - Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced the Housing First initiative Feb. 9. -  - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced the Housing First initiative Feb. 9.

During its regularly scheduled April 12 meeting, the Boise City Council is set to enter into a $5.75 million agreement with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association as part of its new Housing First approach to combating chronic homelessness.

As part of the deal, the city will agree to transfer up to $1 million in general funds to the IHFA in order to leverage as much as $5.75 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit Set-Aside funds.

City funds, described in the agreement as a "future donation" to IHFA, will go toward offsetting the purchase of land for a permanent supportive-housing facility and making improvements, but the spending triggers millions in tax credits that would be used to attract a nonprofit developer to build the new structure.

The agreement is also an indication of how the city sees its role in the homelessness program it outlined in February. In receiving city funds, IHFA will accept responsibility for selecting a developer to build a single-site, 25-30-unit housing block. A review committee comprising IHFA and city staff will oversee design applications from prospective developers.

As part of the broader project, the city and other parties have allocated scattered-site housing stock for the project totaling 15 units.

The project was announced in the wake of the closure of Cooper Court—a homeless encampment near the I-184 Connector in downtown Boise—and the release of a Boise State University analysis detailing chronic homelessness' approximate $5.3 million annual cost to the community. By contrast, the city and its partners' Housing First solution is expected to have annual expenses of approximately $1.6 million. 
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