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IHFA kicks off campaign to help the homeless

Posted at 4:55 PM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 18:55:28-05

Helping those who help the homeless.

That’s the goal of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s fifth annual fundraising effort called the Avenues for Hope.

The campaign -– which kicks off Thursday -– helps 34 non-profit organizations across Idaho that help the homeless on a number of different fronts.

“That’s what the homeless service providers throughout the  state really do –- is that they take that extra step of not just providing shelter, but giving them some job training giving them other types of social services assistance they need so they can get back on their feet and become independent again,” said Gerald Hunter, Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s President and Executive Director.

The annual fundraiser has raised over $650,000 since its inception five years ago. The Home Partnership Foundation believes it is possible, with increased support from the community, that Avenues for Hope could raise at least half that amount during the campaign this year due to the heightened visibility of homelessness in Idaho right now, officials said.

“The campaign is critical in addressing the needs of Idaho’s homeless, who are looking for an opportunity to become self-sufficient,” Hunter added.                                                         

Amy Smith, a Boise mom who is homeless with her two-year old daughter and a baby on the way, says she could use a hand up at this time in her life. “If I could make one big change, it would be to get on our feet and try to get some kind of housing,” Smith said.

Avenues for Hope is organized by The Home Partnership Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit created by Idaho Housing and Finance Association, and is designed to rally support for the many nonprofits doing the day-to-day work of serving the homeless.

Both the chronic homeless and temporarily homeless are helped by Avenues for Hope, including domestic violence victims, veterans, people with disabilities, vulnerable youth, and low income Idaho residents.

“This 22-day campaign gives these nonprofits a platform to tell their story to their communities, and it’s not all about money,” Hunter added. “We find that the community gets more involved with the nonprofits because of Avenues for Hope, because they become more aware of the services they are providing in their community.”

Funds raised at www.avenuesforhope.org can be designated to the organization of the donor’s choice. If donors don’t have a preference, they can contribute to the Enhance the Match Fund through the Home Partnership Foundation, which helps provide matching funds to stretch donor dollars further.

The Home Partnership Foundation along with Idaho Housing and 14 other businesses sponsoring the campaign are contributing up to $200,000 this year in matching funds, and challenge grant prizes. More information on matching funds and challenge grant prizes can be found at https://avenuesforhope.org/#prizes.

Idaho Housing is encouraging Idahoans to support the cause and donate $25 or more starting on December 10th at www.avenuesforhope.org. Every donation is critical to help combat homelessness and ensure essential housing resources are available to those in need across the state. The Avenues for Hope campaign will end December 31st at midnight, and final results will be announced on Monday, January 4th.

Donations will be accepted Dec. 10-31, 2015: http://www.avenuesforhope.org