BOISE, Idaho — In 2020, more than 2,300 Idahoans experienced homelessness. Almost half of that number includes families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The nonprofit CATCH helps unhoused families find housing, but with rent prices on the rise, they're facing new hurdles.
“We live in a market that doesn’t need us, but we’re working to be wanted,” Baldemar Gonzalez, the Landlord Relationship Specialist for CATCH, said.
Some of CATCH's funding comes from HUD which requires them to rent from landlords charging fair market rent (FMR).
“For a one-bedroom, for example, in Ada County is $800. That’s how much the rent has to be for us to house a family,” Gonzalez said.
HUD sets FMR for each county in each state every year. For 2021, FMR for two bedrooms is $1,002, $1,420 for three bedrooms, and $1,647 for four bedrooms.
A quick scroll through rental listings shows few options at that price. The rental market is so strong, it can be hard to convince landlords to rent to people in need.
Some landlords have turned against working with CATCH because they tell Gonzalez they have other applicants with better credit, income, and rental history.
"It's kind of like, you wonder, 'why would they work with us?' Well, at the end of the day, it's the mission," says Gonzalez.
CATCH hopes to show landlords how they can make a difference.
“That’s why I like to get them in front of the families, so the family can meet the landlord and tell them their story, and also the landlord can learn more about CATCH,” Gonzalez said.
CATCH also has landlord incentives, including higher security deposits, damage and vacancy funds, and a neutral party to mediate problems.
The nonprofit relies on donations to help families furnish their new homes and is looking for more landlords to take part in this program. If you'd like to donate or get involved, click here.