NewsState of 208


In State of the City speech, Boise Mayor Bieter addresses plans for housing crisis

Posted at 9:47 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 00:49:22-04

BOISE, Idaho — According to a local expert 6 On Your Side spoke to, studies show Boise is going on year four of a 2% vacancy rate. A healthy vacancy rate, according to that expert, is anywhere between 5% and 8%.

Low vacancy and rising rents, however, are not a coincidence in Mayor Dave Bieter's eyes.

"It really is the product of our success. Because we're an attractive place to live, to move to, it's put a strain on the affordability of housing," said Bieter, mayor of Boise.

Bieter said he's committed to finding solutions, like easing restrictions on accessory dwelling units, which he has already done.

He also mentioned identifying financial incentives he said he plans to discuss in upcoming meetings with people in the banking and finances industries in Boise.

"We believe that-- part of it-- is a housing trust fund where the city buys land and we dedicate that land to affordable housing," said Bieter.

He called for bold action on family homelessness.

He said it costs $6,000 for the city to end a single family's homelessness.

"$6,000 is the difference between a child sleeping in a shelter or having their own bed at night," said Bieter.

Bieter says 90% of Boise's 166 homeless families are on the streets for the first time.

"And while one is too many, is 166 a number we can address? Isn't that a doable thing?" said Bieter.

This-- did not come with a new policy proposal or solution, other than to keep supporting what is already being done, like the housing first model seen in recent openings of New Path Community Housing (for the chronically homeless) and Valor Pointe (for homeless veterans).

"Can't we find a way to find a home for those 166 families? I know that we can. Let's start now. I'm enlisting your help," said Bieter.