On Thursday, May 18, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean gave the city’s annual State of the City address from JUMP in downtown Boise.
“Today, we will talk about the state of our city — not only about what we’ve accomplished, but where we are headed,” McLean said. “As your mayor I have brought all of my experiences and the truth that I learned along the way … to this job.”
Mayor McLean has been Boise’s mayor since January 2020 and is up for reelection later this year. Prior to her election, McLean spent nearly two decades engaged in various public service work in Boise.
Throughout the address, McLean regularly referred to Boise as an “oasis in the desert,” which isn’t entirely untrue for some, although many people’s experiences here in the past several years would likely not be described as time in an oasis.
Since just 2020, rent in the Treasure Valley has increased by approximately 40%, while wages have only incrementally increased. According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are about 38 affordable and available rental homes per 100 extremely low income renter households in Idaho, with even less available in Boise itself.
The topic of housing and affordability was the main focus for much of McLean’s address, mainly discussing future plans as opposed to the current situation in the city.
“In our own city it’s been more and more difficult to find a good, affordable home,” McLean said. “I’ve worked with public and private partners to deliver on a promise — more housing at Boise budgets … . We are beating the odds on housing and we are ahead of schedule.”
McLean said that by the end of 2023, there will be 250 new, affordable homes available in the Boise area, with another 1,000 planned by 2026. Additionally, McLean discussed working together with Boise City Council to create protections for Boise renters — although she gave no details about what these protections may be.
“We will not make the mistakes of other cities and we will work diligently for solutions that help folks become self-sufficient,” McLean said. “Everyone is welcome here. Everyone has value and we will always be vigilant in our efforts to make sure that the most targeted among us are protected.”