In 2018, Boise was the largest growing
city in America. Its population grew nearly 5% in two years and with it, job
and housing growth. The city projects nearly 50,000 new residence in the next
20 years with 20,000 new households.
So how does this previously quaint
city sustain such rapid growth? That’s what Boise is trying to figure out.
During the last Boise Young Professionals meeting, we discussed just that. But
first, we were asked what the word “home” means to us.
The loaded question was asked by Wyatt
Schroeder, the director of community partnerships in Boise. The room silenced
as we tried to put words to the feeling of a home.
The group came up with several words
like identity, lifestyle, privacy, safety, memories and comfort. A variety of
other words were thrown into the discussion, but the one word that everyone
seemed to stop, think and agree upon was stability.
Quite a few of these words describe
some of the most basic needs by humans. But what happens when rent and housing
prices rise and create a humanitarian crisis?
The city of Boise is trying to
counteract the affects this growth has on its citizens with construction of
low-income housing, rental assistance and city housing loans. Even with these
efforts, there are still many on the verge of homelessness.
The impact of the growth is concerning. More than half of renters in Boise are spending over the recommended 30% of income on their housing. Living costs have skyrocketed since 2005 and the median income has fallen.
The city of Boise has come up with
several ideas to keep the growth under control. Some ideas include building
affordable housing, and some include land trusts. One thing is for certain, Boise
City Council wants to hear from as many concerned citizens to come up with a
solution that benefits everyone.
I for one, want to be a part of this solution. I am proud to call Boise my home and want to ensure that I can afford to continue living in this amazing city.
If you would like to get involved,
please join me in attending city council meetings every Tuesday. Meetings are held at Boise City Hall
on the 3rd floor in the Maryanne Jordan Council Chambers. Meetings begin at
6:00 p.m. except for the fourth Tuesday, when meetings are held at Noon.