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Blaine County School District Hails ARCH Partnership
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ARCH’s recent fundraiser raised nearly $900,000 for housing for local school staff.
   
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Nearly $900,000 raised at a recent ARCH Community Housing Trust fundraiser will be used in the first phase of a new ARCH-Blaine County School District development partnership.

ARCH will break ground on six to eight units of housing for school staff in the Spring of 2023 and will partner with Blaine County High School Construction Academy students on those school district-controlled housing for school staff.

BCSD will provide the land, while ARCH raises money to design, develop, build and manage staff housing at a flexible, affordable price point.

“We are incredibly grateful to have such an outstanding partner in ARCH as we work to meet the housing needs of our staff members,” said Jim Foudy, BCSD superintendent. “Thanks to the success of this fundraiser, we have the funds needed to kickstart the ARCH-BCSD development partnership. We are excited to provide district-controlled housing to support and retain our valued staff members.”

 The ARCH-BCSD development partnership may be eligible for an additional $600,000 matching grant, thanks to a million-dollar match challenge announced by new valley resident Jeanne Herberger at the fundraising event. Herberger is matching every dollar given by 50 cents for school district housing.

Private philanthropy is helping ARCH accelerate its development pipeline.

The ARCH fundraising event, held at the home of ARCH Board President Cynthia Hull and her husband Blair, comes nine months after the BCSD Board of Trustees approved a million-dollar emergency employee housing relief fund to help meet the needs of staff members dealing with rising housing expenses.

Trustee Dan Turner said at the time of the fundraiser two weeks ago that there were 32 open positions in a district of 525 teachers, principals, bus drivers, custodians and other staff. And he added that some applicants are forced to turn job offers down because they can’t find suitable housing.

Since 2005, the ARCH Community Housing Trust has developed safe, permanently affordable housing for persons of low to moderate income in Blaine County. It achieves this vision through purchasing, restoring, and building properties to provide housing for local teachers, police officers, hospital technicians, firefighters, nurses, and others who serve the community.

 

ARCH completed 64 homes—60 rentals and four ownerships—this past year alone as it tried to put a dent in the need for affordable housing in the Wood River Valley. It hopes to turn over the keys for four units for St. Luke’s Wood River staff this fall, despite the challenges faced with supply chain issues. And ARCH just broke ground on a four-plex in Bellevue that will be used for hospital staff.

The addition of Finance Manager Becquel Smith and Donor Relations Manager Shelly Boettger to the team is allowing ARCH to utilize private funds to serve more households than are able to use solely state and federal funding. Income levels in the Wood River Valley render many unable to use state and federal funding. But they’re not high enough to secure housing, given the cost of living in the valley.

 DID YOU KNOW?

 Wood River High School Residential Construction Academy students, who this year completed building their third house in Hailey’s Woodside neighborhood, will have the opportunity to participate in all phases of the housing development.


 

 

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