BOISE, Idaho — As the Treasure Valley grows and housing prices surge, local leaders are exploring ways to address the growing issue of homelessness. That includes experimenting with a housing-first approach.
The second New Path Community Housing Annual Evaluation suggests it's not just working, it's actually saving money.
“On an annual basis, the community is saving about $1.3 million because of these individuals that have been placed in new path community housing," said Dr. Vanessa Fry, Interim Director of the Idaho Policy Institute. "What we do is we project out their utilization of community services prior to going into the program. We look at the assumption that those would’ve continued to happen."
This includes emergency medical services, the criminal justice system, and shelters.
The evaluation also looks at whether the individuals are doing better in the program. Fry said the evaluation shows they are doing better.
“They’re more confident, they have more physical ability, their mental ability has improved,” she said.
Fry also said these things indicate success for the program.
Both Fry and Maureen Brewer, who works with New Path for the City of Boise, agree the housing first approach is important.
“Housing first, not housing only. So making sure that we route support services around those folks and assertively engage them in those services so they can function and really be at their highest and best self," Brewer said.
New Path gets funding for support services like an on-site nurse and social worker from Ada County and both Treasure Valley hospital systems.
Dr. Fry says she hopes the evaluation will help public officials make informed decisions about New Path.
As the Idaho Statesman reported, Ada County Commissioners have recently moved to reduce funding for New Path.
They have a meeting about New Path on Monday, July 26.