Officials and community leaders get together to aid homelessness obstacle
“It’s urgent in that the need is there now, what we don’t want to do is put something together that’s the wrong thing”
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — An unintended consequence of growth in the Magic Valley is a rise in homelessness, according to officials. Now, organizations around the region are working to find solutions.
When KMVT recently spoke to Valley House, a homeless shelter in Twin Falls, they said they have been completely full for an entire year.
“Normally we turn away, and it’s not people it’s actually families, about 90 families a month that are needing housing, so we remain full with our men’s beds, women’s beds, and with families,” said Kim Spiers, assistant director of Valley House in an interview last week.
Valley House is working to expand its operations with a new 15 unit, 60-bed building scheduled to be finished in the spring. However, one organization will not be able to cater to all the needs of a growing community.
According to the Region Four Homeless Coalition, which serves the Magic and Wood River Valleys, the biggest current need is something like a warming or overnight center.
“With the vacancy rate as low as it is, which is 1% or below here in this area, we’re looking at when people do become homeless, it’s really difficult to find housing for them, so they end up going to motels, those get booked and now there’s nothing else for them to go (to),” said Randy Wastradowski, with the South-Central Community Action Partnership.
The housing coalition, which has city, county, and community representation from across the area, is creating a committee for the creation of a warming center to meet some of the immediate needs of the area.
There isn’t an official timeline, but Wastradowski hopes to bring an emergency shelter to the area in the next year or so.
“It’s urgent in that the need is there now. What we don’t want to do is put something together that’s the wrong thing,” Wastradowski said.
Finding a location will be difficult, but the goal is to find a place where a structure wouldn’t impact property value, according to Wastradowski.
“This more than likely won’t be a city or county-funded project in that regard, it will be private donations or grants, things like that, so it wouldn’t affect property taxes at all,” Wastradowski said.
We will continue to follow the situation and provide updates as they come.
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