Homelessness expert explores options for Boise

Homelessness expert explores options for Boise
Homelessness expert explores options for Boise
Posted at 10:20 PM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 00:20:00-05

As Boise’s homelessness continues to spark conversations many groups are working towards finding a long term solution.

One of those groups, Boise Alternative Shelter Cooperative, invited an Oregon urban designer to the City of Trees to talk about solutions already used in cities around the country.

Tonight, Andrew Heben, the project and program director for SquareOne Villages in Eugene, Oregon, talked about the possibility of tiny house communities to combat homelessness.  The pilot project in Eugene consists of 30 separate sleeping structures just large enough to fit a small bed.  The individual units don’t have plumbing or electricity.  Instead the community has common shared areas including a bathroom and a kitchen.

Residents pay $30 a month and become a quote, “active member of the solution,” rather than simply a recipient of assistance by helping run the village by answering phones or cleaning common spaces.

Similar projects have been built in Portland and Seattle and he says it could be something that works for Boise.

"I think this is a good idea that would work in most cities that are experiencing problems with tent cities where people are looking for a productive solution rather than just relocating it, where we have to do the same news story every year about the city's ready to move another tent city," Heben said.

Square One Village cost less than $100,000 in total and was funded through private donations.  As part of the one-year pilot program 51 residents transitioned out and 65 percent moved out to more permanent housing.

To learn more about SquareOne Villages, click here.