CATCH sees an increase in homelessness in Ada County amid pandemic

Posted at 8:08 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 20:06:10-05

BOISE, Idaho — Back in the fall, Idaho News 6 reported COVID-19 has lead to an increase in families experiencing homelessness for the first time.

Before COVID-19 hit, CATCH was helping about 150 families on any given day--but the pandemic changed that.

"Since COVID we've been over 200 consistently--the last I heard a couple of weeks ago we were at 234 or 235--the need has grown significantly this year," explained Executive Director Stephanie Day.

The pandemic has slowed down many things, but CATCH says as the population continues to increase, the demand for housing hasn't--which is making it hard to find places to house people struggling with homelessness. The total population for Ada and Canyon Counties combined now sits at an estimated at 737,790, an increase of over 25,000 from 2019.

"It's been even harder to get families experiencing homelessness into housing because availability is so tight," Day said.

Idaho nonprofits like CATCH have gotten thousands of dollars in grants to help those struggling with the effects of the pandemic. Since the pandemic began, nearly $1.9 million has been awarded to nonprofits statewide. Seeing the surge in COVID-19 cases at the end of 2020, the Steering Committee released additional grants to help Idaho’s vulnerable populations – those experiencing homelessness or housing instability, food insecurity and/or domestic violence, and people in need of physical or mental healthcare, and childcare/early education.

"Early on in the pandemic, the Idaho Community Foundation partnered with united ways across the state and the Idaho nonprofit center to establish the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund," explained Karen Biloweth, President and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation.

CATCH has received $14,285 dollars since April. Part of that money went toward hiring additional case managers in both Ada and Canyon Counties. Other dollars went toward damage funds, vacancy funds, and a landlord partnership program to help find a solution to the high demand for housing. They're always looking for landlords to partner with for their housing programs. If you're interested, click here.