NAMPA — Twenty years ago, the Nampa community addressed a problem head on: People experiencing homelessness needed a place to go until they got back on their feet.
Agencies combined efforts to raise funds and resources, and the Nampa Family Shelter Coalition (NFSC) was formed.
“There was no permanent temporary shelter in the area that was of the caliber that was needed to help people with a program to get better so that they were self-sufficient again,” coalition President Nancy Salyer said.
In 2001, the coalition, with great community support, funded the construction of a shelter on land donated by the LDS Church. It opened in March of 2002.
Since then, hundreds of people have found the temporary meals, housing, laundry and job skills services they need.
“We have less people living in cars. We have children who are doing well in school because they have a place that’s safe and they can eat,” Salyer said.
On Wednesday, celebrating the shelter’s 10th Anniversary, the Nampa Family Shelter Coalition, which raised the $1.1 million to pay off the building, gifted the land and shelter to the Salvation Army. Community leaders met at a formal ceremony at the shelter near downtown Nampa for the title transfer and to recognize key players.
Mayor Tom Dale declared Feb. 22 to be Salvation Army Community Family Shelter Day.
“This is a community that has traditionally stepped up to cover the cost of taking care of people in need,” he said.
There were a lot of questions at the start of the process more than 10 years ago, but the community didn’t give up, said Salvation Army Lt. Colonel Eda Hokom.
“And look what we have now. … We see lives constantly changed,” she said. “... There are not words enough to say how grateful we are.”
What will change at
Salvation Army case managers and employees have always staffed the shelter and run day-to-day operations, so that won’t change. But now the Salvation has full authority and responsibility.
“Ever since the beginning of the process of building … it’s been the goal of the coalition to give the building to the Salvation Army,” said Stephanie Bloom, who runs operations at Nampa and Boise Salvation Army family shelters.
One potential challenge is now the NFSC can’t apply for grants on behalf of the Salvation Army, she said.
Because the Salvation Army is international, the Nampa branch can’t apply for grants that would compete with branches in other states.
“So before, the coalition could write those grants for us, and we won’t have that option anymore,” Bloom said.
But, having worked at the Nampa shelter for four years, Bloom isn’t too worried about running out of resources.
“We have people coming in here every single day of the week dropping off donations, people calling all the time to see what supplies we’re needing. And I just really feel that the community is supportive enough to be able to take on anything like that.”
Immediate needs are supplies that can’t be bought with food stamps, such as toiletries, diapers, formula and toilet paper.