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Ada County Commissioners, New Path agencies discuss future of program

New Path
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 08:53:43-04

ADA COUNTY, Idaho — An independent study from Boise State University shows the community housing program is having success, but the Ada County Commissioners said there are improvements to be made.

New Path is a program to permanently house individuals facing chronic homelessness.

New Path 2

In their proposed budget, the Ada County Commissioners chose to reduce their funding for New Path services. Ada County will contribute $200,000 for New Path services like counseling, down from $312,000 they contributed this year, according to the budget.

Related: Annual evaluation of New Path shows success

Chairman of the Ada County Commissioners Rod Beck said he wants the hospitals that help fund services to increase their contribution. Representatives from agencies that run New Path met with the Ada County Commissioners Monday to discuss the best steps for the program moving forward.

“I just want the taxpayers to get the best they deserve,” Chairman Beck said.

There was also debate about the "housing first" model New Path uses. This model means getting those who are chronically homeless into permanent housing first before focusing on services to address things like substance abuse or mental illness.

New Path offers services, but they are not required for tenants.

“I’d kind of like to see get to a treatment first and get, help these individuals as best we can,” Beck said.

In the meeting, the group discussed Valor Pointe—a program similar to New Path, but for veterans.

Deanna Watson, Director of the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities, said tenants agree to work with a case manager and take advantage of the services Valor Pointe offers when they move in.

The group discussed possibly adopting this approach for New Path.

Watson said they plan to look at Valor Pointe and other programs combining different approaches for changes in the future.

“Like housing first, and before housing first, it was more of a linear approach to housing and services for people who are struggling to get out of homelessness,” she said.

Watson said the other big takeaway is not everyone can fit into a one size fits all model. The group discussed learning over the last two years New Path has been open, the program might not be right for everyone.

Chairman Beck said one of the next steps is creating a task force to discuss New Path and other issues involving homelessness in Ada County.