BOISE - Affordable housing in Boise is a hot topic as the Treasure Valley continues to grow.
Many people have trouble finding a place to live. That's something a local church is hoping they can help ease.
The Cathedral of the Rockies is looking to develop housing on land they own near the North End.
The land, which is home to a community garden and across the street from the church, sits between Hays and Fort streets and 11th and 12th streets. The church purchased pieces of the land over a few years.
“The first goal was parking,” said Pastor Duane Anders. “But that's pretty self-serving. In the midst of that, we started saying what else what are the other needs of the community."
Now, the church is looking at the possibilities for the future that will best serve the community. Anders says nothing is set in stone, but the church has a few ideas in mind. One is a multi-use complex with housing and parking.
“Affordable housing,” he said. “That's a big issue in our city and in our community. “Could we help seniors? Could we help veterans? Could we help refugee families or even just regular families that are coming into Boise looking for affordable housing?”
Anders says the church would lease the land and whoever partners with them would be responsible for building and costs. One potential partner is Jamboree Housing Corporation, which is out of California. Anders says Jamboree partners with cities, churches and non-profits to build affordable housing and has more than 80 projects in California.
“Churches exist not just for themselves, but the community,” he said. “So, one of the ways we can make a better community is use this lot for needs within the community.”
This isn't the first time the church has considered building housing on this lot. More than a decade ago they tried to develop the land at least twice. During that process, historic homes in the area were moved or in some cases demolished. Because of that, some people in the North End are uneasy.
Mark Baltes, the interim president of the North End Neighborhood Association, says his concern is keeping the quality of life in the North End.
“Sizing, and massing, and setback and of course your traffic impact,” he said. “All impact how that blends in with the historic neighborhood.”
While Baltes is cautious, he says he'd like the neighborhood association to be involved in the process.
"We just feel that we are well suited to be a participant in the process,” he said. “We do have ideas and I think that with the support of the neighborhood, I think that they would find that they would be able to come up with a suitable development.”
“If we would decide to go forward,” Anders said. “We certainly will approach all of the neighborhood groups, along with the city, along with the school, the YMCA, any other partners in the community.”
There are two public meetings about this at The Cathedral of the Rockies. The first is Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The second one will be on July 11.