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Task force studying new homeless shelter in Boise meets

The group will explore options for creating a solution for the city's most vulnerable residents.

BOISE, Idaho — A task force charged with studying a new location for a homeless shelter in Boise held its first meeting Tuesday morning.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean named a 20-person Shelter Better Task Force that will explore options for creating a solution for the city's most vulnerable residents.

The group includes Interfaith Sanctuary Executive Director Jodi Peterson Stigers, members of local neighborhood associations, health care, business and faith leaders, and people who were formerly homeless.

Interfaith Sanctuary, a nonprofit that operates a homeless shelter in downtown Boise, wants to build a new shelter at 4306 W. State Street, the former Salvation Army thrift store. Those plans drew opposition from residents who live near the building.

McLean asked Peterson-Stigers to put the plans on pause while the task force studies plans for the new shelter. “We need a shelter that must serve the most vulnerable and provide emergency needs night after night,” she said.

Boise State University professor Dr. Jen Schneider is leading the meetings, while Courtney Washburn, McLean’s chief of staff, is serving as chairwoman and a non-voting member.

McLean said she’s confident the task force can reach a solution that moves Boise forward and uplifts everyone in the community. The group is charged with producing a list of recommendations for the city council to consider.

The meetings will take place weekly at city hall over the next eight weeks.

Task Force members include:  

• Chair: Courtney Washburn (non-voting member)
• Boise City Council: President Elaine Clegg (non-voting member)
• Interfaith Sanctuary: Jodi Peterson and Andy Scoggin
• Our Path Home Executive Committee: Stephanie Day and Bea Black
• Hospital systems/Health Clinics: Jen Palagi and Dr. Penny Beach
• Outreach: Street Outreach Team: Jeannette Curtis

Neighborhood Association Presidents:
Veterans Memorial Park – Katy Decker
Collister – Neighborhood Leader
Sunset – Tom Helmer

Neighborhood Leaders:
Jennifer Godoi
Annie McCutcheon

Lived Experience/Expertise:
Serena Hinojosa
Joe Hernandez + Tammy Keagy

Faith Leaders: Padre Jesús Camacho and Sara LaWall
Business Leader: Charity Nelson

Credit: City of Boise
Members of the task force gather around a drawing board to review ideas. Unfortunately, the board did not face the camera.

The meeting are open to the public to watch-only via Zoom. We noticed during Tuesday’s meeting that a couple of members were out of view of the camera. The group was spread out to safely social distance. And a board used to write down ideas faced away from the camera. Hopefully, both issues will be corrected at future meetings.

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