BOISE, Idaho — Interfaith Sanctuary sounded the alarm Saturday, calling on community members to donate sleeping bags for the growing numbers of homeless in the Treasure Valley.
"Boise our homeless issue is at a crisis level right now and we need your help," the shelter wrote on Facebook. "Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services needs to create more shelter beds to help manage the increased need for shelter.”
On Saturday evening, staff members turned twenty people away who were seeking shelter overnight due to no available bed space.
“I haven't experienced our waitlist filling up as much as it did this was the second night that our women and men waitlist filled up,” said Kayanna Gunther, a case manager at Interfaith. “I was crying that night I was completely overwhelmed with the thought of even twenty people outside, nowhere to go, they were expecting shelter and we simply just didn't have enough room.”
As a temporary fix, the shelter called on the community to donate floor pads and sleeping bags. They received enough to put seventeen individuals in a heated tent overnight. During the winter the tent typically serves as a day warming shelter. Executive Director at Interfaith Jodi Peterson-Stigers said the homeless crisis in Boise is on the rise, and a long-term solution needs to be agreed upon.
“There’s a housing crisis, I think there's a lack of control over how rents are raised, I think we are producing homelessness, I know that on the other side we are effectively trying to find a solution but this is the effect of what we are doing right now,” Peterson-Stigers said.
She added that 173 people slept at Interfaith Sanctuary on Saturday, with over 100 more at an overflow hotel. Both Peterson-Stigers and Gunther said the solution is more beds and in order to have more beds, they need a bigger shelter.
“This is a crisis for our city and our community, and I know that when we come together we can fix things pretty quickly so let’s just all stay open to every possible solution as we look towards even greater permanent solutions but when a crisis happens you have to be ready and willing to respond really quickly," Peterson-Stigers said.
Central District Health donated an air filtration system that they have plugged in inside the tent to help filter out air particles to help prevent an increase in Covid transmission.
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