Boise’s homeless scramble for new places to stay

Boise police hand out claims tickets to Cooper Court residents Friday.
Boise police hand out claims tickets to Cooper Court residents Friday. Idaho Statesman file

Some who were evicted from a tent city outside Interfaith Sanctuary on Friday ended up on the sidewalk in front of a nearby day shelter.

“I found some people sleeping outside our door this morning,” Lisa Veaudry, operations coordinator for Corpus Christi House, said Monday.

The day shelter offers free food, washing machines, clothes, bus passes and a place to get out of the rain. It opens at 7 a.m. Monday-Saturday.

Veaudry said some of those who had been living in tents at Cooper Court city are now camping along the river or near railroad tracks.

“I’ve been driving people around to hotels. They’re doubling and tripling up at hotels,” she said.

Corpus Christi House typically has a couple hundred people a day. The day shelter’s four showers run almost nonstop. Monday was quieter than usual, she said.

“They’re scattered all over the city, in whatever temporary situation,” Veaudry said of the homeless group. “Now they have to walk 2 miles. They still need to eat, so they will find their way (back) here.”


Tents and piles of personal items at Cooper Court have been fenced off, and a private security company has been hired to manage the site, Boise spokesman Mike Journee said. Property owners can no longer access their belongings at that location.

Everything from Cooper Court will be moved to another site that will be managed by Merchants Moving & Storage, Journee said. The site hasn’t been determined.

When the tent city was shut down Friday, a temporary emergency shelter was set up at Fort Boise Community Center. Just 15 of roughly 135 people from Cooper Court spent the night at the one-night shelter.

Journee declined Monday to release estimates on the cost of the Fort Boise emergency shelter and the “hospitality” tents set up on River Street on Friday. He said that information would be available later in the week.

Veaudry said a married lesbian couple was turned away from the Fort Boise shelter. One of the women had a “reasonable accommodation letter” stating that she has a physical disability that necessitates that they be provided with a mattress instead of a cot.

Journee said the women left before workers were able to transport the mattress to the community center.

“They were not turned away,” he said. “It was a reasonable request, and we just needed some time to make it work.”

Those who relinquished their tents were given Salvation Army vouchers worth $140, with the city paying $100 toward each voucher.

At least 55 people obtained the vouchers. Veaudry said some of those trying to use them were upset that they weren’t permitted to buy sleeping bags; the vouchers were for clothing and household items only.

“You could get dishes,” Veaudry said.


Some living at Cooper Court were concerned that police were running their names to look for outstanding warrants for minor crimes, but Boise police spokesman Ryan Larrando that was not the case.

“There were no arrests for warrants or any other reason,” he said Monday.

A man who was panhandling at the corner of River and Americana streets said he relinquished his tent and other property but didn’t get a voucher because he didn’t want the city to have any “paperwork” on him. He said he’s staying at Interfaith Sanctuary.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller