Idaho lawmakers can make the most of federal pandemic relief money by approving its use to help Idahoans remain safely housed and to avoid a worsening housing outlook for the state. The Idaho Legislature can also use the flexible dollars to invest in more affordable housing for all Idahoans, according to a new report from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy.
Rent prices have been rising in Idaho for years. Wages, however, have not grown at a similar rate, making it much more difficult for Idahoans to remain housed. The growth in rent prices has been especially steep since March 2020. In that month, median rents in the state were just below $900 per month. By August 2021, median rents were almost $1,200 per month – meaning they rose 31 percent in just 15 months.
“Evictions are devastating for families and also risk a rollback of Idaho’s economic recovery. They can even prompt more virus surges,” said Kendra Knighten, policy associate with Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. “Idaho has critical resources available through federal pandemic relief that must quickly be put towards building affordable homes and addressing skyrocketing rents and home prices.”
By doing the following, the report states, lawmakers can use federal funds approved under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help keep Idahoans housed:
- Approving the latest round of ARPA emergency rental assistance available to Idaho
- Creating more affordable housing by using a portion of ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Funds to fund the Idaho Housing Trust Fund
- Approving ARPA assistance for homeowners facing rising property taxes
The full report can be found at the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy’s website: