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Boise continues plans for housing first program

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 19:29:52-04

The City of Boise is laying the groundwork for a housing first program and hopes to launch it this year.

Evidence of homelessness is harder to find after the Cooper Court cleanup last winter. But it's still here.
The latest count finds nearly 750 homeless are living in Ada County.

The majority get help from shelters, but a small group is the focus of Boise’s housing first program.

"It targets chronically homeless,” said Diana Lachiondo. “Which is defined as a person who is homeless for a year or longer or has had four or more episodes of homelessness in the last three years and has a disabling condition."

Lachiondo is the city’s director of community partnerships. She says the initial phase of the project calls on individual landlords to open units to the city. Then, the city will put someone up in the home and provide supportive services. That includes things like a registered nurse and social worker  who are providing 24/7 wraparound care.

The project comes with a price tag of $1.6 million dollars. That is much less expensive than the current intervention that runs up a $5.35 million tab

"It’s going to save our community, our hospital system, the county, the city, and the state indigent fund significant amount of money," said Lachiondo.

City organizers are still working to gain financial support for the housing first project, and are still on schedule to launch it this fall.

Also in development is a single site housing project. This would be a spot with housing and supportive services that could efficiently help the chronically homeless. The city has a request for proposal out for that project and expects to have final designs by the beginning of next year.