City of Boise moves to buy building on Americana Blvd. to expand day shelter services

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Posted at 3:20 PM, Aug 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-21 17:20:56-04

This article was originally written by Margaret Carmel for BoiseDev.

The City of Boise is buying a building near Cooper Court to expand daytime services for the city’s homeless community.

On Tuesday night, Boise City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the nearly 3,000-square-foot building that used to house the former recovery-focused organization The Phoenix on Americana Boulevard. The city aims to lease the building to a yet-to-be-identified nonprofit partner to expand day shelter services, like meals, heating and cooling during extreme weather months, showers and connection to services.

The city will buy the building from current owner Jason Williams for $1.55 million, with a community development block grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce covering the bulk of the cost.

This building was used over the winter as a warming shelter through a collaboration between CATCH, Interfaith Sanctuary and Corpus Christi Day Shelter. City spokesperson Lana Graybeal said the city buying the building would expand day shelter services in the area.

“The partner operation would be selected to develop robust, permanent daytimes space and programming to connect people experiencing homelessness to much-needed resources, including PPE, vaccines, mobile healthcare resources, casework to navigate mainstream resources, and other resources focusing on housing and integration,” she wrote in an email.

Need remains despite possible Interfaith Sanctuary move

Americana Boulevard is currently the epicenter of housing services in Boise, but that could change depending on the results of an upcoming court case.

Now, guests staying at Interfaith Sanctuary have the option of staying on the shelter’s back property during the day to receive day services and those in the unhoused community can go to Corpus Christi House. CATCH, which has its main offices across the street, currently uses the 511 S Americana building to operate its housing hotline, perform housing assessments, manage its outreach program and host pop-up events. A memo provided by Graybeal indicated CATCH’s programs would remain in the building after the purchase.

This dynamic could change if Interfaith Sanctuary is able to complete its move to the former Salvation Army warehouse on State Street. Residents of the nearby Veterans Park Neighborhood Association filed in court asking for a judge to review Boise City Council’s approval of the new shelter earlier this year, but the case has still not had a first hearing.

But, regardless of what happens with Interfaith, space for day shelter services in the area is still at a premium. It has required expanded services for cooling and warming shelters in the winter and summer months “at great capacity and resource cost” to both the city and the nonprofit partners operating in the area.