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Balancing the demand of sufficient warming centers with the increasing unhoused population

Cooper Court, a former tent city in Boise
Kyle Green
Idaho Statesman

As temperatures hover around freezing in Idaho, keeping the unhoused population out of the cold becomes more critical as demand increases.

There are over 2,500 individuals with access to homelessness services such as the warming centers, provided by organizations within the community. Multiple warming centers are open around downtown Boise that unhoused people can use during the day.

The Idaho Harm Reduction Project, Treasure Valley YMCA, Boise Public Library, Cathedral of the Rockies and Corpus Christi House are open during the day, with Interfaith Sanctuary and Boise Rescue Mission offering overnight warming spaces.

Boise libraries give people access to shelter, as well as books and online resources.

Ashley Hammond is a licensed clinical social worker and the Mental Health Coordinator for the Boise Public Library. She aims to make everyone feel included through her coffee and conversation events and resource fairs.

“We're open for everyone,” Hammond said. “The main library downtown is open on Sundays. So being able to provide that space for folks to come warm up is really a big gap in our community.”

Interfaith Sanctuary is a daytime and overnight shelter that serves the unhoused 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Jodi Peterson-Stigers is its Executive Director. The shelter operates out of two buildings, an overnight emergency shelter and a hotel shelter for families, seniors and the medically fragile. She says there's a bigger need during the day for the unhoused population

“We operate the backside of our shelter for daytime access,” Peterson-Stigers said. “We have a heated military tent. We have a food trailer, we have a covered area, and we open up the inside of the building during inclement weather to move people in to make sure everyone has a space to be during the day.”

Shelters like Interfaith Sanctuary and Corpus Christi are running out of space for those in need, but the agencies work together to find temporary shelter for anyone looking.

“We just keep adapting, but we're still not able to serve everyone who's seeking shelter right now,” Peterson-Stigers said. “We can't take care of everyone.”

For more information and access to the Downtown Boise Homeless Resource Pocket Guide, visit the Boise/Ada County Homeless Coalition.

Overnight Shelters 
City Light Home For Women & Children
1404 W Jefferson St

Interfaith Sanctuary
1620 W River St

River of Life Men’s Shelter
575 S 13th St

Hays House For Youth
Ages 9 - 17
7221 Poplar St
208-322-2308 / 877-805-2308

Day Shelters
Corpus Christi House
525 S Americana Blvd

Housing Services
CATCH/Our Path Home
503 S Americana Blvd
Housing Crisis Hotline: 208-246-8830
Call for housing resources, information and support (callbacks within 24 hrs.)

Amanda Niess was a newsroom assistant through February of 2024.

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