Homeless

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.

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.

Gavel, Courts, Justice
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has halted part of Boise's new anti-panhandling ordinance. The ordinance was set to go into effect Thursday.

Boise approved the ordinance in September to crack down on aggressive panhandling.  The tougher rules make a first offense an infraction when panhandlers seek handouts while someone is crossing a roadway or near a sidewalk cafe. 

Idaho Lands On Top 10 List For Increase In Homeless Students

Dec 13, 2013
student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Student homelessness in Idaho has grown by 27 percent, putting the state in a list of 10 that have seen the largest increase in the number of kids without stable, reliable homes. That data from the U.S. Department of Education measured growth from the 2010/2011 school year to 2011/2012.

Mistermuckle / Flickr Creative Commons

You might look at Thursday's announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as good news and bad news for Idaho. First the good news. Between 2010 and 2013 Idaho saw a 24 percent drop in homelessness. That’s more than 560 fewer people living on Idaho’s streets. Nationally, homelessness decreased by 6 percent.

Boise Passes Controversial Law To Limit Panhandlers

Sep 18, 2013
Jessica Murri / Boise State Public Radio

Boise’s City Council approved a plan to limit what the city labels as aggressive panhandling. About 75 people showed up at City Hall Tuesday night, many to protest the vote.

The council passed the ordinance 3 to 1. It doesn’t ban panhandling all together, as long as those who do it don't target specific people or groups.

Critics say this ordinance is too restrictive. Larry Shamks is homeless and disabled. He plays the ukulele now because his hands can’t handle the guitar, which he says he played for 40 years.

Interfaith Sanctuary

Tonight marks the longest night of the year.  Advocates chose this night to remember the homeless who have died in 2012.  The National Homeless Person’s Memorial happens in more than 150 cities, including Boise. 

Jayne Sorrels is the Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services. “We gather together as a community and recognize and honor, remember those who have died in the last year who were homeless, formerly homeless and those who were homeless advocates.”

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Sleet falls in Ann Morrison Park on a recent Sunday afternoon.  A few people mill around picnic tables, shivering.

Denie Tackett hauls boxes and bags of food from her car.

Tackett heads up Mosaic Street Ministry, a non-profit group that ministers to the homeless in Boise.  She’s been bringing food to local parks for the last five years. 

Boise Parks and Recreation / City of Boise

Boise will open a homeless day shelter for young children and their parents today.  Officials say the shelter will be a warm, safe place to go when families run out of other options this winter.

This is the fourth year in a row Boise Parks and Recreation will operate a temporary day-shelter for homeless families.  Parents with children can visit the Pioneer Neighborhood Community Center seven days a week.   

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