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What is next for Interfaith Sanctuary after conditional use permit denial

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 07:41:10-05

BOISE, Idaho — Earlier this month the conditional use permit for Interfaith Sanctuary was denied by the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission in a five to one vote.

Interfaith Sanctuary says they plan to appeal that decision to Boise City Council in March to ask the city to approve their conditional use permit.

Related: Interfaith Sanctuary conditional use permit for proposed State St. location denied

Interfaith Sanctuary's current location has already been purchased but is working with the nonprofit to allow them to continue providing services to the homeless community.

"They will allow us to stay in our current shelter as long as this application moves forward at the State St. location, that means if we were to have to sell that building, buy a new building and start this process over, they don't have that timeline, but if this is going to drag out with this building and this application they are going to hang in there with us," said Jodi Peterson-Stigers, Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary.

When asked about the contingency plans if city council denies the conditional use permit, Peterson-Stigers said that plan is more complex.

"We get a lot of suggestions on where we could go, but they're not appropriate, we can't afford them, they're not sited correctly, they're not near transportation," Peterson-Stigers said. "We had already worked for three years to try and find an appropriate building to do this, so we're not foolishly thinking that miraculously there's going to be like a building that's ready to go that doesn't have go through a complete... it's hard to figure out what Plan B is right now."

Related: Interfaith Sanctuary keeping 'chin up' after unwelcome message on proposed new shelter

Peterson-Stigers hopes supporters of Interfaith Sanctuary and the community at large will contact the City of Boise to show their support for them and let city council know the services they provide are essential to the city.

"The very thing that people are fighting against, which is that idea of the impacts of us being in a neighborhood, the impacts of us not being here, puts our homeless community in tents, sleeping on the street, loitering, experiencing survival issues because there is nowhere for them to go," Peterson-Stigers said. "We are the very solution they are fighting against, we are the ones that make sure that they have a safe place to be and that they have support services and that they can be there day and night. So it's really interesting that they are actually opposed to the very thing that can solve their greatest fears."

Interfaith is hoping to present its appeal to city council sometime in March, though an exact date has not been set.