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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Housing Crunch Squeezes Idahoans Looking To Avoid Homelessness

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Molly Messick
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StateImpact Idaho

The Treasure Valley is facing a record number of residents needing help to find a place to live. But a lack of affordable housing is making it harder for people struggling to find a permanent residence.

Late last year, the CDC issued a moratorium on evictions. But Ali Rabe, executive director at the nonprofit Jesse Tree focused on housing support, says that hasn’t stopped many people from losing their homes.

“Eviction court, what my staff tell me is proceeding business as usual since the moratorium came down in September,” she said.

Stephaine Day is director of the Catch Program and works with people seeking housing assistance. She said pandemic programs have kept many clients safe from evictions.

But that doesn’t paint the entire picture.

In January, 35 adult-only households applied for Catch’s assistance, last year it was 27. As the pandemic surged, Catch saw a 78% increase in people looking for their services from the year before.

The lack of affordable housing is making it worse. Zoe Anne Olson, director at Intermountain Fair Housing Council, says about 34,000 Idahoans are at risk for eviction or homelessness. She says the goal is to find long-term solutions.

“The commitment is really homes,” she said, “like permanent homes where people can live. We know historically it's cheaper.”

Jesse Tree, the Fair Housing Council and Catch are all looking to find a permanent solution to end family homelessness.

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