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Collister United Methodist Church, LEAP Housing build affordable homes on church land

The homes are finished and the goal is to have two families moved in this October. The two homes are reserved for households at 30% of area median income.

BOISE, Idaho — Affordable housing is an issue Boiseans hear a lot about, but do not see enough of lately. The issue prompted the Collister United Methodist Church to team up with nonprofit LEAP Housing to provide affordable spaces behind their parking lot.

KTVB showed a glimpse of the Taft Street Homes back in June when construction was underway. On Tuesday, we were there as crews put the finishing touches on the homes. 

“Our church, we have a quarter acre of land. It was basically goat heads and weeds, and we started to just kind of dream about what we could do with it,” Pastor Joe Bankard said.

Bankard said the dream turned into talks about affordable housing, which turned into a leap of faith. They teamed up with LEAP Housing and that dream then became a reality. 

The two homes are reserved for households at 30% of area median income, which would equate to a family of four making about $2,300 a month. 

“We've since partnered with CATCH, so that the families that are moving into these homes will come essentially from deep housing insecurity, if not homelessness," Bankard said. "So, that's sort of the population we were hoping that would move in, people that were really desperate for affordable housing." 

The Taft Street Homes have also become a faith community effort. 

“The associate pastor at Collister, her name's Jenny Hurst, she reached out to faith communities around the Treasure Valley to ask, 'would you adopt a room?' So, you know, we've got like the Unitarian Church adopted a bathroo, and they're going to bring a basket filled with bathroom supplies for one of the homes,” Bankard said. “Another faith community adopted a bedroom and they're going to bring blankets and sheets and you know, it's just a beautiful, sort of like interfaith movement.” 

All of the organizations coming together, to help build a new beginning for two families, now laying a new foundation. 

“We oftentimes look at this project and recognize that it's just two, right, you hear often it's just two. I think this is one of those projects, that really is a testament to like, even two matters,” LEAP Housing CEO and founder, Bart Cochan said. “There's going to be two households that are going to be able to access housing here, when so many others are struggling to be able to access housing.”

Cochran said LEAP Housing is now working with half-a-dozen other faith communities throughout the Treasure Valley, after they were inspired by the housing that’s now been developed on the Collister United Methodist Church land. 

“I hope that people take this as a beautiful challenge to do whatever it is that you can do in this current housing crisis,” Bankard said.

Cochran also said the neighborhood has offered to match up to $20,000 in donations to help with any additional fixtures for the houses. 

If you would like to donate, you can do so here, but be sure to comment that the donation should go toward ‘Taft Street Homes.’ The goal is for the families to move into the homes on Saturday.

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