Interfaith Santuary’s plans to move to State Street are on hold, for now.
On Monday, the emergency shelter’s attorney sent a letter to the Veteran’s Park Neighborhood Association announcing plans to delay its application to the City of Boise to turn an abandoned Salvation Army warehouse into an expanded shelter. Instead of submitting the project application this week, the nonprofit will wait until after it can hold more meetings with the neighborhood next month.
“(The letter) doesn’t mean we’re not pursuing the project, but we want to see if we can have better conversation,” Interfaith Sanctuary Executive Director Jodi Peterson-Stigers said Monday. “I think the feeling is (the neighborhood) felt rushed and not heard and so we thought if we slowed down and tried to have smaller meetings with smaller groups and really try and figure out how we can work together and better understand each other.”
Since Interfaith Sanctuary announced its plans to expand and relocate outside of the downtown core in January, the plan had significant pushback from the nearby neighbors. They raised concerns about loitering, potential for crime and questioned the nonprofit about if they would be reimbursed for decreased property values due to the project.
Peterson-Stigers addressed the Veteran’s Park Neighborhood Association and Collister Neighborhood Association in separate meetings last month and held a live-streamed Neighborhood Meeting with nearly 300 people about the project. Before the application is filed, the nonprofit is planning an open house next month for neighbors within 300 feet of the Salvation Army property, which will be compliant with COVID-19 protocols, the letter said.
Peterson-Stigers said Interfaith Sanctuary is under contract to sell its current property on River Street, but she declined to say who the buyer is. She said the proceeds from the building sale will go toward purchasing the Salvation Army warehouse when they close on March 25.