Homeless

Boise Defends Its Record On Homeless Issues

Oct 26, 2015
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The issue of homelessness in Boise has been in the news a lot lately. The city recently won a court victory in defense of its anti-camping ordinance.  At the same time, a large homeless encampment in an alley called Cooper Court has grown not far from the heart of town.

Look Inside Boise’s Tent City

Oct 19, 2015
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Homeless people sleeping outside has been a big issue for the city of Boise for a long time. The city has passed laws against it and fought in court for years to keep those laws on the books. But over the summer homeless people began doing something new. From hidden camp sites scattered throughout Boise, they’ve gathered together in one place and pitched dozens of tents. And for now, the city is letting them stay.

thinkpanama / Flickr

A two-day conference that starts Tuesday in Boise will address everything from housing trends to homelessness. The Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development is the largest of its kind in Idaho.

SamPac / Flickr

City of Boise officials says they're pleased that a judge decided this week to dismiss a lawsuit over a homeless camping ordinance. Bell v. City of Boise has been in the courts since it was filed in 2009.

At issue was a law that said the city could cite people sleeping outside. After the suit was filed, the city changed the law to say citations could only be issued if homeless shelters had empty beds.

homeless, sign
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The City of Boise received some good legal news this week: U.S. District Court Judge Ronald E. Bush dismissed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday. The suit, Bell v. the City of Boise, was filed in 2009. The lawsuit alleges the city's camping ordinances criminalize homeless people, and challenged the laws' constitutionality under the Eighth Amendment.

The Justice Department weighs in on an Idaho case, arguing that homeless people should not be charged with crimes for sleeping outdoors when there is not enough housing in their communities.

Listen to the full version on the All Things Considered website.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The City of Boise says the U.S. Department of Justice was incorrect when it accused the city of punishing people for being homeless.

The Department weighed in Thursday on a lawsuit that says homeless people receive tickets for sleeping in public spaces.

SamPac / Flickr

State government would help fund resource programs for the homeless if state Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, had her way, especially as Ada County looks for solutions to homelessness.

The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/1AVOiwb ) that Boise Director of Community Partnerships Diana Lachiondo says the city is working with local hospitals and Ada County on a collaboration that would bring a housing first model to the Treasure Valley.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Every year in late January volunteers around the country, and across Idaho, take to the streets to ask people experiencing homelessness where they slept on a particular night. It's a difficult task because people who sleep in their cars or in parks -- known as unsheltered homeless -- can be hard to find. But the numbers volunteers come up with are important because they're used for things like setting federal funding for local homeless programs.

mor gnar / Flickr

An Idaho charity is giving a million-dollar makeover to a skate park in downtown Boise.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is donating $1.25 million for the renovation of the Rhodes Skateboard Park. The park is underneath the connector that joins I-84 to downtown Boise.

Over the summer, a group of homeless people began camping out across the street from the concrete skating area. Boise has tried repeatedly to move the campers out of the makeshift camp.

City spokesman Mike Journee says the camp had no bearing on the gift from the foundation.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise City Council this week changed its ordinance which makes it illegal to sleep in public places. The council voted not to enforce its “camping” ordinance when homeless shelters are full. That comes after police this summer cracked down on people sleeping on the sidewalk near some of the city’s shelters and homeless advocates and others criticized the move.

Across the country more than one million kids may not know where they’re going to sleep tonight.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise Rescue Mission plans to open two shelters in Nampa in the next two weeks.

The Idaho Statesman reports that a men's shelter called Lighthouse Rescue Mission and a women's shelter called the Valley Women and Children's Shelter are scheduled to open.

Officials say the women's shelter has 60 beds and will welcome women and children who are homeless as well as those displaced by domestic violence. A grand opening is planned for Thursday.

Counting Homeless People In Idaho Is An Inexact Science

Jan 30, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Volunteers are combing Idaho's streets for the next few days asking homeless people where they spent Wednesday night. This annual count is the only source for much of what we know about Idaho's homeless population. Those numbers, which we won’t know for months, help determine how much federal money will come to homeless programs in Idaho.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Luanne Jensen sits in an alley behind Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary homeless shelter. She recently had knee surgery, so she's sitting on a bench built into her walker. The surgery, she says, is why she’s staying at Interfaith Sanctuary -- again. Jensen says she stayed here three years ago before landing a job. Now, she can’t work.

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