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Nampa's only family shelter set to close in February seeks funding to remain open year-round

Madelyn Beck
Mountain West New Bureau

Nampa’s only family shelter is set to close at the end of February despite growing demand for housing assistance.

The Salvation Army’s community homeless shelter used to be open during cold winter months but received COVID-19 relief funds to stay open year-round. That funding is set to run out at the end of February.

But Salvation Army Corps Officer Allison Struck said the need is increasing.

“As the housing crisis came sort of hand in hand with COVID and then the growth in Treasure Valley, many families got priced out, even working families, people that had never needed assistance before,” Struck said. “And so the waitlist just continues to grow and families continue to experience homelessness at a rate never really before seen in Nampa.”

Struck said the shelter has thirteen rooms and can house 50 to 60 family members. About 90 individuals are currently on their waitlist, most of whom are children.

“It's the only place where mom and dad can come. It's the only one in Canyon County that accepts single dads, and it's the only one that accepts teenagers, especially teenage boys,” she added.

Struck says there are about 1,200 children sleeping in cars, couches, temporary hotel rooms or RVs without power in Canyon County.

Researchers and social workers warn the rising cost of rent in Idaho - which has increased by 40% in the last 3 years - will lead to higher numbers of people experiencing homelessness in the state. Studies show that while domestic violence, substance use and mental health issues contribute to housing instability, the main causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, poverty and systemic racial injustice.

“The case management piece is hugely important, even beyond the shelter and the food and the safety that that provides,” Struck said.

She said they are very concerned about the impact the closure would have on folks who come to the shelter. In addition to housing, they offer resources to guests who might need help connecting to healthcare services, escaping a domestic violence situation or finding sustainable housing options.

The shelter is trying to raise $300,000 from private donors by February to remain open another year, while it looks for long-term funding.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.