Community leaders will break ground Wednesday on a housing development designed to aid the chronically homeless.

The 41-unit building, called New Path Community Housing, is set to open in the fall of 2018 at 2200 W. Fairview Ave. in Boise. It will be the first single-site, permanent supportive housing development in Idaho, according to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, which has approved almost $6 million in tax credits for the project.

New Path is based on the Housing First model, which prioritizes moving chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing and then providing services such as medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, case management, life skills education, and financial and job counseling. The development will have 40 one-bedroom apartments, a unit for management, and office and meeting space.

“The Housing First model — getting people off of the streets and out of the shelters while giving them the opportunity to address the root causes of their homelessness — has proven very effective at reducing chronic homelessness in other communities,” Boise Mayor David Bieter stated in a press release. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the way community partners are stepping up to address this challenging need for our most vulnerable residents.”

The city of Boise is putting $1 million into the development, and the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority will provide an estimated $4.5 million in housing vouchers over the first 15 years to help cover rent and utility costs.

Other financial partners are Idaho Housing and Finance, Ada County, St. Luke’s Health System and Saint Alphonsus Health System. Service providers at New Path will be Terry Reilly Health Services and CATCH, Inc. (Charitable Assistance to Community’s Homeless).

The developers are Tom Mannschreck, founding board member of Northwest Integrity Housing Co., and Caleb Roope, president of Pacific West Communities, Inc. Project design is by Erstad Architects and Pacific West Architecture, and the general contractor is Pacific West Builders.

Wednesday’s groundbreaking celebration, hosted by IHFA from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the project site, will include remarks from Bieter, Hunter and Roope, as well as Rodney Reider, president and chief executive officer of Saint Alphonsus Health System; Chris Roth, senior vice president and chief operating officer of St. Luke’s Health System; and Deanna Watson, executive director of Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority.

About Housing First

Salt Lake City, Houston, San Diego and other U.S. cities have documented lower homelessness-related costs after implementing Housing First models, according to a press release from Idaho Housing and Finance. 

Research conducted by Boise State University in 2016 shows that for every 40 chronically homeless persons in Ada County, a total of $2.1 million is spent annually. That includes costs for shelter, criminal justice, emergency medical treatment, medically-monitored detox and mental health crises services. When 40 chronically homeless people are involved in a Housing First program, they can be served with intensive team-based care for $450,000 a year, according to the press release.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines the chronically homeless as a homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

Financial support for New Path Community Housing:

  • The Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority will provide vouchers with an estimated annual value of $300,000 for a 15-year contract period, adding up to $4.5 million. Because New Path’s tenants are formerly homeless and unlikely to have reliable sources of income, the vouchers will help to bridge the gap for rent and utilities. The vouchers will only be used once the development is occupied.
  • The Idaho Housing and Finance Association will provide $5.83 million of low-income housing tax credits and $500,000 in HOME funds. American Express is the project’s equity investor, and The Richman Group is the tax credit syndicator.
  • The city of Boise is investing $1 million.
  • Terry Reilly Health Services and CATCH, Inc., will treat and counsel individuals while they work to rebuild their lives and regain their independence. These services are funded by:
    • $250,000 from Ada County
    • $100,000 from St. Luke’s Health System
    • $100,000 from Saint Alphonsus Health System

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