New Path becomes first “Housing First” development in Idaho

New Path Community Housing Development in Boise opened its doors as Idaho’s first “Housing First” Permanent Supportive Housing developmentNew Path houses 40 people battling chronic homelessness and provides wrap-around services to help residents achieve stability.

Housing First is a shift from the more traditional approach to caring for the homeless. Housing First prioritizes and provides those experiencing chronic homelessness with a clean and safe place to call home. Guided by the belief that housing is a foundation for life improvement, Housing First recognizes the safety and stability a home can offer to resolve underlying issues. Those experiencing homelessness can access housing and do not need to graduate from a series of service programs beforehand. Supportive services are offered to aid stability and prevent returns to homelessness.

Research conducted by Boise State University in 2016 shows the impact housing can have on reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and emergency transportation. Boise State’s research found that Ada County could save almost $3 million a year by implementing a Housing First program.

On-site Supportive Services

Terry Reilly Health Services and CATCH provide the supportive services for New Path residents. Services are catered to the needs of each person. Residents have access to case managers, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and healthcare services. A part-time nurse is also on staff. Peer support groups will help with community building. An on-site housing specialist helps residents navigate the housing process, including documentation and lease agreements. The specialist is the liaison between the property manager and residents. In addition to the individual apartments, New Path includes private offices, recreation space, a computer center that allows residents to work on resumes or job applications, community room, laundry rooms on every floor, and a secured courtyard.

New Path, at 2200 Fairview Ave. in Boise, is close to transportation, retail, grocery stores, recreation, and a variety of other social services.

Collaborative Effort

This development was made possible through the collaboration and teamwork of a number of community partners. The Boise City/ Ada County Housing Authorities committed project-based Section 8 vouchers to help bridge the gap for rent and utilities. The city of Boise donated $1 million to the project. Idaho Housing and Finance Association also earmarked $500,000 in HOME funds and awarded nearly $6 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The supportive services offered at New Path are funded by donations consisting of $250,000 from Ada County, $100,000 from St. Luke’s Health System, and $100,000 from Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Other partners include, Pacific West Builders, The Pacific Companies, Pacific West Architecture, Northwest Integrity Housing Co., Thomas Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Zions Bank, The Richman Group, American Express, and erstad ARCHITECTS.

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