BOISE, Idaho — It's now been about seven months since New Path Community Housing opened its doors-- Idaho's first "housing first" model for addressing homelessness. Since then, those on the forefront of ending homelessness are telling us New Path has made an impact when it comes to chronic homelessness.
Jodi Peterson runs an emergency shelter in west downtown: Interfaith Sanctuary, where she's the Executive Director. The shelter is just down the road from the neighborhood's latest addition-- New Path.
"We definitely have a chronically homeless population that has lived together for a while in our city," said Peterson.
That chronic population had a bit of a rocky relationship with the city for years-- including lawsuits and a camping ordinance. During those years, Interfaith lived up to its name as a "sanctuary."
"Interfaith was absolutely taking care of the largest number of them. And that puts quite a burden on your system because when you're looking at the most chronically homeless-- you're looking at the most pressure on a system," said Peterson.
Then, in December of last year, after years in the making, Mayor Bieter and more than two dozen groups introduced Idaho's first "housing first" model-- a 41-unit apartment complex for those with little or no income.
"Would you say it's made an impact on some of the chronic homeless people here?" I asked.
"Definitely," replied Peterson. "Having them safely in New Path, and allowing us to kind of get more bandwidth to serve more of the homeless population-- it's been-- it's been impactful."
Impactful for chronic homeless-- but sadly Peterson says there's a whole new type of homelessness on the rise, caused in part by the affordable housing crisis.
"New Path came at just the right time to open us up to have more bandwidth to be able to serve this newer type of homeless population," said Peterson.
Coming up this week, we'll take a look at how folks are losing their housing in record numbers because they can't afford their rent increases.