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Housing analysis shows Boise needs 27,000 new units over next decade

The numbers from the city's housing needs analysis show the need for affordable housing isn't going away any time soon.

BOISE, Idaho — The City of Boise says it needs more than 27,000 new units over the next ten years to manage the current housing crisis. That's according to the housing needs analysis that was discussed during Tuesday's city council meeting.

And the main topic? Providing more affordable housing options.

It's about producing more units and preserving current units, which starts with locations just like one at the corner of State and Arthur streets. The city says that the plot of land will be multi-family housing.

Because as the numbers from their housing needs analysis show, the need for affordable housing isn't going away.

The average one-bedroom rental in Boise costs around $1,500 per month. At the same time, the average Boise renter can afford to pay around $800 a month.

“Wages are being far outpaced by housing costs,” said Housing and Community Development Senior Manager Maureen Brewer, who presented the findings of the housing needs analysis to the council. “The market is not currently meeting the demand at every income level.”

The report stated that 1,682 affordable units are needed for people making less than $40,000. Currently, 63 units are approved. Brewer says this shows the market is not producing affordable housing units at the rate they are needed.

“Good news, it is that the city can help course correct an inefficient market and focus where the need is,” she said.

Brewer said the solution is a combination of creating more units and preserving existing units, "We are in too much of a crisis for the market to right size.”

The analysis recommends the city builds the most units for the least amount of money and provide affordable housing projects with gap financing. To preserve current affordable housing, the analysis recommends subsidizing multi-family housing to keep them affordable, both on rentals and homeowners.

Brewer says low-income renters are most in need. "We want to move a needle. We want a rising tide lifts all boats."

And that's where the analysis recommends the city focuses the bulk of its resources to manage this housing crisis to those who need more options around $800 a month.

"If the city wants to position itself well to influence what's happening here, we need to focus those resources rather than stretch those thin," Brewer said.

Brewer said the city can't solve this housing crisis on its own but should do what it can to provide incentives for affordable housing and influence developers to take on affordable housing options.

According to the housing needs analysis, it is expected to cost $5 billion over the next decade to accomplish what the city needs.

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