Leaders Break Ground on Housing-First Development for Chronically Homeless in Boise 

click to enlarge - The New Path Community Housing facility will contain 41 living units. -  - ERSTAD ARCHITECTS
  • Erstad Architects
  • The New Path Community Housing facility will contain 41 living units.
The mound of topsoil in the former parking lot of the former Twin Dragon Chinese restaurant slowly turned to mud and attendees squeezed under a nearby rain tent as the rain poured on a gathering of city and business leaders, and community partners. They were there Sept. 20 for a groundbreaking ceremony for a first-of-its-kind housing-first development for the chronically homeless: New Path Community Housing.

"This is the hardest thing cities work on," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. "None of us can take this issue on alone."

New Path will be a 41-unit, 40 one-bedroom apartment building for one of the most vulnerable populations in the City of Trees—the chronically homeless. When completed, it will be a single-site complex for housing, medical and mental health care, case management, substance abuse treatment and more.

The project is being funded with $500,000 in HOME funds from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association and assigned Low Income Tax Credits totaling $5.83 million. Ada County will support services to the tune of $250,000, and the City of Boise chipped in $1 million in general funds for construction. The facility will be managed by Tomlinson and Associates. Services and support will be provided by Terry Reilly Health Services and CATCH, Inc.

The Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority has committed vouchers over a 15-year period with an estimated value of $4.5 million to cover rent and utility costs. Other financial contributors include Saint Alphonsus, St. Luke's Health System, United Way of Treasure Valley and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

According to a Boise State University study, 100 chronically homeless Boiseans cost the community at least $5.3 million per year—a burden that would be greatly alleviated by a $1.6 million investment in a permanent supportive housing option.

Caleb Roope, president of The Pacific Companies, which will manage the property, described the development as "a unique opportunity" that will "get ahead of" the problem before it becomes "too big and unmanageable as it has in other cities."

The facility is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

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