The 26-unit project, called Valor Pointe, is being spearheaded by the Boise Veterans Administration Medical Center (through the VA Supportive Housing Program), the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities, and the City of Boise. This fall, Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp., an Idaho-based 501(c)(3) tax exempt affordable housing developer, joined the partnership after it was selected to build the project through a public request for proposals process.
Of the 756 persons experiencing homelessness in Ada County during the 2018 Point in Time Count, 113 were veterans – about 15 percent. That’s higher than the estimated 11 percent of veterans who make up the homeless population nationally.
“We know that veterans, unfortunately, represent a disproportionate number of those in our community and across the nation experiencing homelessness,” said Boise Mayor David Bieter. “Valor Pointe and the Housing First model will allow us to help them directly by giving them a home and the services they need to get back on their feet.”
Valor Pointe will follow the Housing First model similar to New Path Community Housing, the 40-bed Housing First project which opened last week. Housing First emphasizes providing a home to those experiencing homelessness first and then providing wrap-around services to help them live healthier lives. Several major U.S. cities, including Salt Lake City, Houston and San Diego, have documented major reductions in community costs associated with homelessness as a result of implementing the Housing First model.
Valor Pointe will be located on the southwest corner of State Street and Fargo Street. Construction is anticipated to start in the Spring of 2019, with completion slated for early 2020. The development’s location will offer easy access to public transportation and amenities.
Research conducted by Boise State University in 2016 showed that those experiencing chronic homelessness cost our community at least $5.3 million a year in services, criminal justice costs and medical costs, while the estimated cost of providing permanent supportive housing options would cost approximately $1.6 million for 100 residents annually.
While funding for the $6.2 million Valor Pointe project comes from a variety of sources, it will be primarily financed through low income housing tax credits awarded by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.
"Idaho Housing is privileged to be among the partners that will make this important resource a reality for our nation's veterans,” said Gerald Hunter, president of IHFA. “Only by working together can we ensure that all Idahoans have a safe, stable future."
Valor Pointe resident services – such as health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment – will be offered to eligible veterans by the Boise VA Medical Center.
“We are very fortunate to have a community that is so supportive of homeless veterans,” said David Wood, director of the Boise VA Medical Center. “This project is an incredible example of the good that can be accomplished when communities are collaborating and applying innovative ideas.”
The Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities will also provide ongoing funding through the HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program, which combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for Veterans experiencing homelessness with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities will provide project-based VASH vouchers to Valor Pointe residents as a rental subsidy.
“A key defining characteristic of our veterans is their willingness to put their lives on the line so the rest of us can enjoy the comforts and security of a home,” said Deanna Watson, executive director of the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities. “With that in mind, it seems wholly appropriate that we should be dedicated to working together to ensure that they can reap the many benefits having a home provides.”
The City of Boise is also providing a loan to the project developer through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, a grant through the federal Community Development Block Grant Program, as well as funding from its general fund.
In addition, the Home Partnership Foundation, an independent non-profit created by IHFA, is also leading a fundraiser for additional funding in partnership with Together Treasure Valley, the Micron Foundation and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation. Those interested in donating to Valor Pointe can click this link.
The units at Valor Pointe will be one-bedroom, one-bathroom units with an open floor plan and a private balcony/patio. The property will also feature a community lounge, a classroom, a computer lab, onsite laundry and a fitness room. There will be offices for the VA staff, allowing residents to meet with the caseworkers onsite.
“Valor Pointe not only provides housing for veterans experiencing homelessness in our community, it also provides several resources that will benefit the residents,” said Jess Giuffré, development manager for Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp. “Valor Pointe is a true public/private partnership, with support from several organizations to insure we serve these veterans who have served our country.”