Monday, November 16, 2015

Pay For Success / Permanent Supportive Housing / TransForm Idaho Homeless Forum

The Boise Weekly has been devoting significant time and ink to challenges around homelessness.

It's helpful to understand all the efforts being undertaken by the city and others to cultivate both short- and long-term solutions. The City of Boise is pursuing permanent supportive housing and a 'Pay for Success' model to incentivize third parties to create housing and and services (like case management or counseling) for persons currently experiencing homelessness. Read more on that here.

Support for the city's long-term goals. The members of BASC fully support the city's efforts to create permanent supportive housing, as well as expanding housing types and price points that offer affordability and stability to people at all income levels. We encourage other stakeholders to support their efforts as well.

A citizen-driven, private grassroots is a natural response to perceived needs involving homelessness, and BASC efforts are informed by successful faith and community partnerships in the NW that are proving effective and affordable for economically displaced people. These are folks for whom local housing is simply out of reach and for whom congregate shelters may not be the best option.

We appreciate that the city of Boise (and any city) would have legitimate questions about any alternative approach. That said, our efforts should not be construed as critical of others, including city leadership. Just as no two people are identical, the solutions needed to stabilize displaced individuals will naturally be diverse. Incivility by others towards city in the press or public does not represent BASC, it's active members or values.

We can disagree without being disagreeable, and we know that today's perceived adversaries may be tomorrow's allies. Open and honest evaluation of ideas and strategies is what makes a democracy work.

October 7th Homeless Forum. George Prentice also served as the moderator for a well-attended forum on homelessness sponsored by Transform Idaho. Panelists included Police Chief Bill Bones, Homeless Coalition President Barbara Kemp, Diana Lachiando from the Mayor's Office and Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre. Read more about that discussion and view some video from the evening here.

Many in the audience posed questions on the 3" x 5" cards provided and were confused when the questions didn't surface in the discussion. Following the Forum, the needs of Cooper Court residents have been assessed by volunteers coordinated by CATCH. This is a critical step to inform efforts going forward.

Andrew Heben Presentation. The event on November 19th is not a forum on homelessness in Boise; it is a presentation by a widely recognized author and expert on the rise of tent cities and tiny house villages, and on the planning, political, environmental, economic and social implications of these constructs. This is a national and international conversation; it is by no means about any one community.

Listening Session. Members of BASC and Transform Idaho are planning a 'listening session' in early December with the goal of giving folks without housing a chance to speak up in their own words.

Our long-term goal is for the many people and organizations of conscience to work more collaboratively, finding space to address diverse community needs while making best use of taxpayer dollars and community capacity both private and public.

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