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Interfaith Sanctuary submits formal application for State Street expansion

Interfaith Sanctuary officially submitted its paperwork to the City of Boise to build a larger shelter on State Street. 

Lasts week, the shelter submitted application materials for a conditional use permit and a variance to build a 30,000 square foot shelter at 4306 State Street. The nearly two-acre site, a former Salvation Army warehouse and office building, would be renovated into a shelter with beds for 200 guests, outdoor play areas, a garden, courtyard, commercial kitchen, office space for Interfaith Sanctuary staff, and day shelter space for guests.

[‘Renovicted’: Boise renters report displacement from renovations as landlords seek higher rents]

What kinds of guests will this serve?

A letter submitted with the application said the building could have housed up to 375 occupants if they built it like a typical emergency shelter with large rooms of bunk beds. But, instead Interfaith Sanctuary chose to prioritize beds for families, individual rooms for guests ready for their own housing and medically fragile residents. 

Executive Director Jodi Peterson-Stigers said the proposed expansion will no longer be an emergency shelter because it will offer 24/7 support for residents, instead of only overnight stays. She is referring to the new project as “community housing.”

“Interfaith Sanctuary believes this is an appropriate configuration that furthers the goals of housing first, addresses the immediate needs of our community’s most fragile members, and provides opportunity for the working homeless to have a more dignified existence as the larger community works to address the dearth of truly affordable housing,” the application said.

The shelter will include 24 beds in dorms for emergency overnight use, 34 “incentive beds” for guests in programming to have quieter rooms and desks for personal items and 25 private rooms for guests who meet certain requirements. The project will include 94 beds in family suites, plus room for cribs to accommodate the youngest children and 22 beds for medically fragile residents.

A new day center is planned for the northwest corner of the property, but it may be included in a second phase of construction depending on fundraising.

[Project Tracker: Interfaith Sanctuary State St.]

Hearings set to begin soon

A site plan included with the application shows plans for a ten foot separation wall along the backside of the property and new landscaping and an eight foot solid fence on the west side. Gates will enclose the entire facility, including a new gate to the west of the main building.

Dining and common spaces for families and single adults will be in separate areas of the building, according to drawings submitted with the application. Sex offenders are not permitted to stay at Interfaith Sanctuary and all guests are screened upon check-in, according to Executive Director Jodi Peterson Stigers.

Interfaith Sanctuary sold its River Street facility last month and purchased the State Street warehouse. The entire project is estimated to cost roughly $5 million, with the cost split evenly between the purchase of the new building and the renovations on State Street. A roughly $1 million grant from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association will boost the project.

The project will come before Boise’s Planning & Zoning Commission in the coming weeks for a hearing and is likely to be appealed to Boise City Council for a final decision.

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev senior reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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  • Interfaith Sanctuary