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St. Luke’s and ARCH Break Ground on Addressing Employee Housing Shortage
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St. Luke’s Wood River has hosted as many as five and even six trailers in its parking lot this summer. The trailers provide housing for traveling medical personnel.
   
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Workers broke ground for four long-term rentals for St. Luke’s Wood River employees Monday afternoon at Quigley Farm in Hailey.

St. Luke’s Health System, St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and ARCH Community Housing Trust are partnering to build 12 units of housing in Hailey and Bellevue to address the lack of affordable housing, which has challenged the local St. Luke’s hospital ability to recruit and retain employees.

St. Luke’s Wood River currently has 69 vacant positions and a vacancy rate much higher than the three hospitals in the region, said Carmen Jacobsen, COO/CNO of St. Luke’s Wood River. Nursing positions account for 28 percent of those vacancies.

Potential recruits frequently cite the lack of available housing and the cost of living as the reasons they  turn down employment offers, despite the significant financial incentives offered them.

“The limited availability of housing to rent or own is a challenge felt by our entire community and significantly impacts the ability to recruit and retain employees at SLWR. It affects all job families and levels, clinical and non-clinical,” said Jacobsen.

St. Luke’s Health System and St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation are providing funding for the construction; ARCH is contributing the land and will oversee the construction.

Four three-bedroom single-family homes are being built this fall in Quigley Farm. The remaining eight units in Hailey and Bellevue will begin construction next spring. All units are scheduled to be completed within 12 months of the beginning of construction.

Those who live in the homes will pay no more than 30 percent of their income in rent.

ARCH Housing Trust Director Michelle Griffith said that it is a testament to St. Luke’s Wood River’s dedication to addressing employee housing that its leadership focused on the housing opportunity in the middle of a public health crisis.

“ARCH is proud to deliver affordability in new, beautiful homes for our critical health care employees,” she added. “We look forward to the continued our partnership with the St. Luke’s hospital and foundation.”

St. Luke’s is continuing to pursue other strategies to support hospital employees and their families, said Chris Roth, St. Luke’s Health System president and CEO.

St. Luke’s Wood River has always provided exceptional health care to our community and COVID has created the greatest need for medical resources in our nation’s history,” said Megan Tanous, chief development officer for St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation. “Through it all, our goal to ensure clinical excellence and empower health for all remains paramount, and investing in housing aids in our ability to deliver. We are grateful to all who helped put St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation in the position of strength from which it could invest in a housing solution for health care workers. Generosity has never been more important.”

To learn about supporting housing for healthcare workers, visit www.slwrf.org or call Megan Tanous at 208-727-8444.


 

 


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