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Boise housing first effort continues dispite some objections

Posted at 9:52 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 06:18:57-04

With colder weather on the way, homeless people like Chris Walters must find a way to stay out of the elements.

Some will get help from homeless shelters but Boise's housing first effort is still being worked out.

In July, Boise's two major health care systems joined the city of Boise and other partners to find permanent housing for the community's chronically homeless.

Those services would include mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and financial counseling to address root causes of homelessness. 

Recently there was a proposal submitted for the single-site option. A review committee will explore how feasible it is in a couple weeks.

If approved, the money will be awarded for that building to be the facility.

"Housing first is an effort to create a day-to-day solution to addressing the chronic homelessness in the community," said Mike Journee, Communications Director for The City of Boise.

Journey said they need the shelters and service providers who have the expertise to be a part of the coalition.

One homeless shelter leader said there are issues with the effort.

"If the people who are being served don't take advantage of the services that are going to be wrapped around them, then you're going to take people who are homeless and living in homelessness and just putting them in a place to live but the mindset and the lifestyle and all of the issues that brought them into homelessness are still going to be there," said Bill Roscoe, CEO of Boise Rescue Mission.

Roscoe said the Boise Rescue Mission's philosophy is to help homeless people recover from issues they face before housing them.

The housing first effort is still pending on where the facility will be but they should have a better idea in the next couple months.

In the meantime, homeless people will find other ways to stay warm in the winter.