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Boise mayor issues statement about tent demonstration

The demonstrators seek to draw attention to what they say is a lack of housing or adequate shelter space. The statement mentions assistance and police response.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise Mayor Lauren McLean on Wednesday issued a statement about "some questions from concerned residents" regarding the tent demonstration set up on state property near the Idaho Capitol.

Some people who are currently unhoused as well as advocates have been camping outside the former Ada County Courthouse location, now the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center, near 5th and Jefferson streets. On Monday, they said the demonstration is intended to draw attention to a lack of affordable housing or an adequate number of emergency shelter beds.

In a statement issued by the Boise Mayor's Office Wednesday evening, McLean said the Our Path Home team continues to offer services, including available shelter beds.

The statement goes on to say:

"Boise Police have not responded, as state property is the jurisdiction of the Idaho State Police.

"While we are working on developing permanent supportive housing for Boiseans experiencing homelessness, the Our Path Home team is also constantly working to serve their immediate needs in these frigid temperatures. This includes the winter warm up day shelter at 511 S. Americana Boulevard, contributing $10,000 to the Severe Weather Emergency Overflow Program, and our street teams ensuring that every person knows they have safe, warm places to go."

While the executive director for Interfaith Sanctuary on Sunday said the situation regarding shelter for unhoused people in Boise has reached a "crisis level," and that Interfaith did not have any more room, the leader of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries said BRMM has room at all five of its shelters - located in Boise and Nampa - and anyone who shows up will be served.

Interfaith Sanctuary and Boise Rescue Mission report different situations regarding capacity at their facilities, but some at the tent demonstration told KTVB that they also have different rules for those seeking help.

"You can't be an alcoholic, you can't use drugs," said Sherry Jo Crandall, referring to the Boise Rescue Mission. "A lot of people get very defensive with that and don't want to deal with it, so they just don't stay there."

Boise Rescue Mission CEO and President Bill Roscoe said the mission has services for men, women and children. However, the mission's different shelters are either specifically for men or specifically for women and children. The mission also offers addiction recovery programs.

“You've got to be on good behavior, you've got to cooperate with staff and things like that. And some of our homeless friends don't want anything to do with that, so they won't come to us,” Roscoe said, also saying the mission invites "any homeless person to come over, check in with us, spend the night, and take advantage of all the services the Rescue Mission has to offer."

Boise's Our Path Home team has a Housing Crisis Hotline. For immediate assistance, call 208-336-4663 -- that's 208-336-HOME.

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