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BOISE — Another 26 chronically homeless residents will have a roof over their head in Boise by next summer.

On Monday, the city of Boise broke ground on its second permanent supportive housing development for those experiencing long-term homelessness, but this time specifically for veterans. Valor Pointe is a 27-unit development at 4203 W. State St. that will provide housing, health care, mental health services and other social supports to those who served in the armed forces.

“Valor Pointe is the second housing development in our city that utilizes the Housing First model, providing community members with a secure and stable place to live, along with essential services needed to help them get back on their feet,” Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said in a press release. “I could not be prouder and more grateful to our community partners who committed to addressing such a complex problem for our most vulnerable veterans.”

This is similar to New Path Community Housing on Fairview, which opened its doors to more than 40 residents experiencing chronic homelessness at the end of 2018. Valor Pointe is funded through a combination of Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, vouchers from the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities, along with funding from the city of Boise and donations from corporations and foundations.

The project will have a live-in property manager, and the building will have a private balcony and patio area, a community lounge, a computer lab, on-site laundry, a fitness room and a therapeutic garden. Two of the units will be wheelchair-accessible, and all of the other units can be easily modified to accommodate anyone with disabilities or other mobility challenges.

Residents will be selected through the Our Path Home program, which is a single entry point for anyone experiencing homelessness in Ada County. Through this program, anyone who is experiencing homelessness through any of the local nonprofits is put into one database, and veterans who have been without a roof over their heads the longest will be able to move into Valor Pointe.

The idea of creating housing specifically for the chronically homeless is not a new one. New Path is based on a nationally recognized model called Housing First, which emphasizes housing people before requiring them to meet a list of standards, such as getting a job. The housing-first model says once people have a stable place to live, they’ll be better positioned to improve other areas of their lives, rather than asking them to make those other improvements before they’re eligible for housing assistance.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, roughly 11% of the adult population experiencing homelessness are veterans. Ada County exceeds the national average, with 14% of homeless population counted as veterans.

Margaret Carmel covers the city of Boise. Follow her on Twitter @mlcarmel or reach her by phone at 757-705-8066.

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