City of Boise exploring more strategies to address housing crisis

Boise City Hall
Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 19:30:11-04

BOISE, Idaho — The City of Boise is continuing to gather information and explore new strategies to address the housing crisis.

Maureen Brewer, the city's housing development manager, shared recent data with the Boise City Council and Mayor Lauren McLeanTuesday, saying two out of three Boise renters can’t afford available units.

She said one of the big takeaways from a housing needs analysis is something you probably already knew: there’s a need for more housing. But how much more?

“Well over 2,700 units per year are needed,” Brewer said.

With 67% of renters not able to afford units currently on the market, the new units need to be affordable. The city is exploring several strategies to address the housing crisis, but Brewer says they've outlined their focus.

“Creating a project pipeline so that the city can make direct investments in affordable housing,” Brewer said.

Projects to build more affordable housing takes time, so they’re also pursuing ideas that will make a difference sooner like partnering with developers, nonprofits and other governmental agencies.

“And work on a collective pipeline so that we’re bringing units to the market now, today, a handful of months from now, next year,” Brewer said.

They’re also working on rewriting zoning codes and expanding supportive services like our path home, a partnership to end homelessness in Ada County.

Related: Home sharing platform to ADUs: City of Boise testing affordable housing concepts

While it wasn't a topic of conversation in City Council's strategic planning session, a group held a press conference outside City Hall about the Shelter Better Task Force. Last month, Mayor Lauren McLean formed the task force to "explore options for doing shelter better and to create a solution that’s right for our city."

One of the speakers at Boise Neighbors for Better Housing's press conference, Bobbie Aitchison, said the task force's goal is actually to recommend the re-location of Interfaith Sanctuary's homeless shelter. She also said they're not confident citizens' concerns are being addressed by the task force.

"We consistently hear that relocating the shelter in a predominantly residential area is a bad idea but the people are fearful of speaking out due to the NIMBY phenomenon. This derogatory slur stands for not in my backyard. This shaming technique is used to silence the voice of citizens and is not an acceptable solution," Aitchison said.

The task force is currently scheduled to have its last meeting on August 30.

If you're in need of rental assistance now, the non-profit Jesse Tree is offering rental assistance at pop-up events across the valley over the next few weeks.

  • Wednesday, August 25 Jesse Tree will be at Idaho Foodbank Mobile Pantry Nampa Housing Authority 211 19th Ave N, Nampa, ID 83686 from 12:15-2 PM
  • Thursday, August 26 Jesse Tree will be at Idaho Foodbank Mobile Pantry Farmway Village 22730 Farmway Rd, Caldwell, ID 83706 from 6:30-8:30 PM
  • Monday, August 30 Jesse Tree will be at Caldwell Public Library 1010 Dearborn St, Caldwell, ID 83605 from 11 AM-2 PM and at Meridian Public Library 1326 W Cherry Ln, Meridian, ID 83642 from 2-4 PM
  • Wednesday, September 8, Jesse Tree will be at College of Western Idaho Student Resource Fair 5500 E Opportunity Dr, Nampa, ID 83687 from 11 AM-2PM and at Meridian Public Library 1326 W Cherry Ln, Meridian, ID 83642 from 12-2 PM
  • Monday, September 13, Jesse Tree will be at Boise Public Library 715 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702 from 11 AM-1PM
  • Wednesday, September 22, Jesse Tree will be at City of Caldwell Treasure Valley Information Fair 2412 E Chicago St # 110, Caldwell, ID from 8 AM-2 PM