Cooper Court clean-up cost: $290,000

Posted at 10:30 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 00:30:19-05

The once tent-lined road in Cooper Court is clean these days.

A massive operation was undertaken by the city to get the homeless out of the alley, but the cost was not cheap.

"It is estimated that it cost about $290,000 for the entire effort," said Mike Journee, spokesman for the mayor.

While $98,000 of that went to cover costs like food, tents, security and biohazard cleaning, the majority was spent elsewhere.

"$192,000 of that was personnel costs," said Journee. "Most of that was overtime costs for people. That represents about 3,300 hours of personnel costs."

The city said that you can't put a price on a life, and this operation was about the health and safety of Boise residents.

"This money was spent in order to save lives. In fact, it probably saved a lot of lives," said Journee.

While the city said that cleaning up Cooper Court was money well spent, not everyone agrees.

Lisa Veaudry of the Corpus Christi day shelter said that the whole operation was overkill.

"I am not surprised at the number. When I watched the operation going down, that was a number that was pretty close to what I had predicted, which is what made it so tragic for us, because we could operate our whole day shelter for two years on that number," said Veaudry.

She said that Cooper Court was out of control and something did need to be done, but the city should have never let it get that way in the first place.

"Had they addressed their ten-year plan sooner, they could have housed these people before it became that situation," explained Veaudry.

She said the effort has not improved the homeless problem.

"All of the people that were homeless before are still homeless now," said Veaudry.

The city said that they are still working on plans to address the homeless problem in the community.

They said they hope to make a major announcement regarding a housing first project sometime this spring.