Letters to the Editor

Miller letter: Housing First

Articles appearing this past week in the Idaho Statesman regarding the Housing First plan led me to conclude that it is poorly thought out and designed not to eliminate chronic homelessness but to perpetuate and expand it.

Understanding that there would be space for counseling and case management (isn’t there such space elsewhere today?), the planners’ notion of spending a total of $6.7 million to construct a new 25-unit building boils down to $268,000 per unit. That’s a lot of money knowing government will likely end up falling short of actual cost.

Further consider that no site has been determined, but planners want it in a nice location away from highways, railroads, the poor and minorities. I’m surprised someone hasn’t labeled this site selection criteria as being “racist.” Regardless of where it is located, the property will become tax exempt and the foregone tax must be counted as an operating expense.

Next there’s the support services and maintenance costs that the planners hope the housing authority, hospitals and local government will help out with. That’s not a business plan; that’s wishful thinking. And then with all this half-baked uncertainty the planners want the groundbreaking to occur by the end of 2016, with the thought already of expanding the program.

Craig Miller, Star