BOISE — Homelessness is an issue that communities across the nation work hard to battle.
Thursday in Boise, community partners took a step to address the problem in a new way by welcoming a new resource to help those experiencing homelessness.
The newly opened New Path Community Housing is aimed at helping people experiencing homelessness battle the challenges they face every day.
The brand-new facility off Fairview Avenue is a permanent housing solution for people that have lived on the streets for years.
As a part of the Housing First approach, New Path Community Housing is giving 40 people who have battled chronic homelessness in Ada County a permanent place to live. This approach is the first of its kind in Idaho.
Wyatt Schroeder, executive director of CATCH, says finally opening the doors is very exciting.
“Some people who are moving in have been living on the streets for five years, 10 years. Honestly, we have someone who has lived on the streets for 31 years," said Schroeder.
Gerald Hunter, President of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, says community partners are excited to utilize this new approach.
"It's a major step in terms of bringing community resources together to build something like this and to manage it on an ongoing basis," said Hunter.
Housing first sites like this in other states have found that this approach saves the community thousands of dollars in avoided hospital trips, fewer stays in jail, and a decrease in other public services.
"We've got many people who are vulnerable in our community, we wanted to make sure this targeted the most vulnerable. Just like an emergency room does triage to prioritize, we did the same thing," said Schroeder.
A voucher program will cover a majority of the tenant's rent here. But, residents who do have income, will have to pay a portion of their rent.
But, New Path isn't just a warm place to stay. It offers valuable resources on site to help tenants with a variety of issues.
"By coming into New Path, through Terry Reilly Health and CATCH, we can give them the support they need and make sure they stay in stable housing long term," said Schroeder. "We can focus on behavioral health issues, we can focus on job development and income, and we can focus on all the individual questions that might come up for our residents."
The New Path Community Housing Development is funded with $5.83 million of low-income tax credits by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, $500,000 in grant money by the IHFA, plus $1 million from the city of Boise.
Community partners agree, those investments into New Path are well worth it.
"When you look just above the door, it says New Path Community Housing, and I think the key word in that is community," said Hunter.
For some context, currently, there are an estimated 150 to 160 people that are experiencing homelessness in Ada County.
Community partners know that hosting 40 people doesn't end the problem, but they say it's a great start.
Local groups are optimistic New Path will be a success, and they are already exploring building more projects like it in other places.