Idaho agency accepting proposals for veteran housing project

Homeless Veterans could be getting a new place to stay in Idaho with access to health care and other services. 

According to the Idaho housing and finance association, nationally the number of homeless veterans is drastically declining, but in Idaho the numbers are increasing.

“As Americans we should be taking care of those people who were really willing to risk their lives to take care of us,”said Deanna Watson, Executive Director of the Boise City and Ada County housing authority.

According to the Boise City and Ada County Housing Authority, they currently give around 200 vouchers to help veterans pay rent, but many times those vouchers are worth less than a landlord can get from an everyday citizen.

"That becomes an impediment to our veterans trying to find housing,” said Watson.

According to the V.A. there is typically 25 veterans who have vouchers at any given time that simply can’t find housing and are chronically homeless, but that could be changing.

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association is currently accepting proposals from developers for permanent supportive housing.

“The proposal is really to enable a developer to develop housing that is specially for our returning veterans who have fallen into homelessness,” said Watson.

The project will be based off the housing first model where you provide the homeless with a home and then they can focus on getting the services they need to get back on their feet. 

Although the agency is accepting proposals from anywhere in Idaho, they will be choosing the winner based on a number of factors. 

"The proposals that would score the best would be the proposals that placed the housing somewhere in the proximity of the V.A.,” said Watson.

The cost would likely run somewhere near the 5 million dollar mark, the majority of which would be paid for by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association by selling federal tax credits. And while it’s not cheap, they said it will likely save money in the long run.

“They use up a lot a large amount of the public cost for a community, hings like emergency room visits, and criminal justice,” said Brady Ellis with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. “By housing those chronically homeless individuals it proven that those cost dramatically decrease.”

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association is accepting proposals from developers. The deadline is August 28th. The agency hopes to complete the project sometime in 2020. 

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