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Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley have grown significantly in the past ten years. Since 2018; the Ada County population increased just over 5% while the Canyon County population increased by 5.5%. As a result, both median home and median rent prices increased by about 10%. These changes have resulted in many Treasure Valley residents experiencing housing instability. Nearly 50% of all renting households qualify as housing burdened (pay 30% or more of their income on housing costs). In 2021, 1,054 people sought homelessness services in Boise and an additional 4,307 sought services in the surrounding counties.

The pressure to mitigate these housing problems is felt by nonprofit, private, and government organizations alike. Interventions in the Treasure Valley tend to fall under the following categories: homelssness prevention, emergency shelters, rapid rehousing, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, or permanent housing. Most permanent affordable housing in the Treasure Valley is only made available through The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds, including Section 8 housing vouchers. Rapid rehousing and transitional housing is provided through nonprofits that also act as homeless shelters. Good Samaritan Home (GSH) in a unique independent living facility in Boise. GSH offers permanent and affordable housing to adults with low or fixed incomes, including seniors, veterans, and adults with disabilities. Residents are provided with a room of their own and three meals each day. Shared meals and other shared spaces create a sense of community for residents.

After 80 years of operation, GSH is interested in better understanding the successes and challenges of similar programs across the country. More specifically:

  1. What are the impacts of independent living facilities on residents and communities?
  2. Are there independent living facilities similar to GSH that have scaled up or have completed impact studies? What can be learned from them?
  3. What affordable and innovative housing solutions exist in the Treasure Valley? How does GSH compare to these solutions?

To answer these questions Idaho Policy Institute explored peer-reviewed literature and investigated housing programs in peer cities to Boise. Focusing on peer cities allows for an understanding of successful methods in areas with similar demographics. IPI was unable to find information on any identical or similar programs in Boise or peer cities. However, when observing the structure of GSH, IPI noted the similarities of GSH to tiny home villages. Although these are not directly comparable, the impact is believed to be similar, as such tiny home villages are mentioned often throughout this summary.

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