The Nampa Community Homeless Shelter is in danger of closing within the next few months.
Canyon County’s only family homeless shelter could shut down come February 2023 if the $300,000 funding goal is not met.
Shelter case manager Ferne Brandt tells BoiseDev that COVID-19 relief money kept the shelter open throughout last year but those funds are running out. And while there is another women’s shelter in Nampa, without the Community Homeless Shelter, there would be no other place for men or teenage boys experiencing homelessness to stay.
“If they have a teenage son, they can’t stay there. Their husbands can’t stay there,” Brandt said. “So for us, our priority is single fathers because they have absolutely no shelter to go to because there’s no men’s shelter right now that’s available. And then our second priority is anyone with a teenage son because they again have no shelter to go to and then we look at keeping the family unit together as well.”
The shelter can serve around 50 people per night.
Brandt says in the past, they’ve received funding to keep the shelter open 90 days out of the year but there is now a need for it to be open year-round. In Nampa alone, there were 1,217 students who experienced homelessness at some point this year.
“So it’s just very frustrating to me that we are not being proactive or trying to be reactive,” Brandt said. “We’re behind the eight ball when it comes to providing proper assistance, and then that weighs on our community resources. So when you have people sleeping in a park or in a car, and these kinds of conditions, they’re lining up in the emergency room, right?… So it’s just it puts a strain on the entire community as a whole.”
Brandt said there needs to be more affordable housing in Nampa to help prevent homelessness.
“I’m always trying to think like, what can we do outside the box so that people aren’t sleeping on a park bench or you know, under the bridge, or behind the Fred Meyer or wherever they’re shifting to and then they get arrested for sleeping out in public, and they come out with constant supervision,” Brandt said. “And then nobody wants to hire him because they have a criminal history. Nobody wants to help them because they have a criminal history and they’re supposed to pay their costs for supervision. So I also don’t understand why we’re criminalizing homelessness. And we’re not willing to do something to promote affordable housing.”
If you would like to help the Nampa Community Homeless Shelter stay open, donations can be made here.