Interfaith Sanctuary eyes new homeless shelter location, virtual public meeting scheduled

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 09:23:15-05

BOISE, Idaho — Interfaith Sanctuary, a nonprofit that helps the homeless population, is looking to move from its current location to a new one.

"The need has grown within our homeless population for programming, case managing, and just a safe place too, and so we are definitely seeing we need to be able to expand," Jodi Peterson-Stigers, Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary, said.

Peterson-Stigers hopes the former Salvation Army Thrift Store and warehouse building along West State Street in Boise becomes their new home.

"It's much a bigger space for us to put our programming under one roof and create a special dorm for families with children and medically children. It will allow us to serve us more people," Peterson-Stigers said.

Peterson-Stigers said the site they are looking at would serve 72 family members, have a medical dorm to house 37 seniors for someone who may need hospice or medical care, and the back of the building could become an emergency shelter.

But not everyone is pleased about the idea of a proposed homeless shelter in the area.

"Putting 300 people here surrounded by so many people that already in need. it's irresponsible. There's a title one school. Only title one school in the area. This is not the area that can support a healthy way it can't do the homeless community service like another area of Boise that maybe doesn't have any other people in need.

Matthew Oman, who lives near the proposed site, says he supports the need to help the homeless population but believes the proposed site may not be the best.

"My heart breaks for those families that stay at that shelter. I want to do anything for them, honestly but having that many people here amongst other people that are in need. It just shows lack of wisdom," he said.

Peterson-Stigers had scheduled a neighborhood meeting for Thursday to share their plans with residents who live close to the proposed new location. But after reports, hundreds of people would turn up; the meeting had to cancel to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. The organization was planning to provide more insight into what they hoped to accomplish with the building.

"I think understanding more about how programed we are and how many services we offer will help. I think understanding that because we are a family shelter with kids and parents, we don't have sexual offenders in our system. Because we have children in the same building, I know that there's concern that we might be moving that element into (the) neighborhood that has never been part of our programming," Peterson-Stigers said.

A public meeting held virtually is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10. Interfaith Sanctuary will have a link available on Feb. 1 where people can register.

Speakers will include:

Jodi Peterson-Stigers- Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary Homeless Shelter
Andy Scoggin- Interfaith Sanctuary Board President
Andy Erstad, Tom Lennon- Erstad Architecture
Nick Guho- Guho Construction

After the public meeting, Peterson-Stigers said the plan is to submit an application to the city of Boise and will know by Mar. 25 if the sale goes through and will take a minimum of 12 months to move to the new location.