Affordable Housing Crisis
Idaho does not have enough affordable rental homes for those with limited incomes. Often these individuals and families have incomes below the poverty guideline, and they must choose between buying food or paying rent. Or, to give up their home so they can feed their families.
Without Affordable Housing Many Become Homeless
According to the Idaho National Low Income Housing Coalition, nearly 40,000 households in Idaho (20%) have limited incomes. These folks are at risk of losing housing and becoming homeless. In 2022, there were 1,998 unhoused individuals in Idaho. About one-third (650 people) were in Ada County.
Gregg Colburn, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Washington, researches the phenomenon of homelessness in America. His research has found that lack of housing (vs. chronic addiction, unemployment, or mental health issues) is the underlying cause of homelessness. Dr. Colburn advocates for affordable housing to solve the homeless crisis in America—and Idaho.
Sheltered vs. Unsheltered Homeless
The Idaho Housing and Finance Association offers insights into being homeless. Some individuals and families are considered to be sheltered, while others are unsheltered.
A sheltered homeless person resides in an emergency shelter, transitional housing, or supportive housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters.
An unsheltered homeless person resides in a place not meant for human habitation (a vehicle or on the streets) or in temporary tents, encampments, and warming centers.
Leveraging the Power of Unified Voices
In the past year, IIRAH has joined forces with other nonprofits to advocate for affordable housing options throughout the state. In January 2023, IIRAH joined the Idaho Asset Building Network for the annual Housing Advocacy Day. In the lobby of the Idaho Capitol building, we hosted a table, gave out information about IIRAH, and shared stories about how Idahoans are impacted by rapidly increasing home prices, which leaves them deciding between paying for housing and putting food on the table.