Twelve years is a long time. A lot can happen in twelve years or even twelve months. After twelve years of litigation, Boise has surrendered its sovereignty to a group of homeless individuals. The Boise City Council voted to approve the settlement that will allow homeless individuals to 'camp out' in city parks without fear of arrest or citations. Former Boise Mayor Dave Beiter feared that the City's parks would be transformed into homeless camps that would repeal families from enjoying their time outside.

As we first reported yesterday, the City announced the settlement of the lawsuit with a press release. Boise will amend two ordinances to bring them in line with the City's current practice of protecting the constitutional rights of those who are unable to access shelter based on disability, sexual orientation, or religious practices. The Boise Police Department will adopt and implement additional guidance and training for officers to further ensure no person experiencing homelessness is issued a citation when no shelter is available to them.

Boise will now spend money on affordable housing. The settlement also involves paying the plaintiff's attorneys almost five hundred thousand dollars. I remember discussing this lawsuit over the years with several callers on KIDO Talk Radio. The Boise Police will face a significant challenge on making sure that Boise doesn't resemble larger cities like San Francisco or Seattle.

The challenge of affordable housing goes far beyond those that are homeless. Rent and home prices have continued to rise as more and more people move to Idaho.


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