Boise Public Library

Boise’s main library branch is downtown at 715 S. Capitol Blvd.

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BOISE — Ada County’s homeless community will now have a place to spend the day out of the heat.

Earlier this week, the city of Boise and emergency shelter Interfaith Sanctuary signed an agreement to allow the Boise Library’s downtown branch to be used as a cooling shelter for the foreseeable future. It will provide access to computers, books, crossword puzzles, a weekly support group and an hour per day of case management for those experiencing homelessness.

Interfaith Sanctuary Executive Director Jodi Peterson-Stigers said this will not cost the city any funds and will be staffed by her shelter and volunteers.

“We just had to get people out of the heat and right now as the acting day shelter they’re on black asphalt,” she said.

Temperatures in Boise this week have climbed to triple digits.

Because of the novel coronavirus, the Corpus Christi Day Shelter in Boise, which normally would have offered an indoor space throughout the day for people experiencing homelessness, is closed other than to allow guests to get mail, use the restroom or shower.

Interfaith Sanctuary, one of two organizations offering emergency overnight shelter in Boise, has stepped in to operate as the day shelter, but the space is outside on the paved area behind the shelter. Services there include water, meals and some programming, but no one is allowed inside and there is limited shade.

Masks will be required all of the time inside the library, hand sanitizer and other cleaning products will be available and only 20 people will be allowed inside at a time. Peterson-Stigers said there will be physical distancing, including computers that are spread apart and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

No appointment is necessary, and it will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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