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"The best measure of a good idea," Boise Mayor David Bieter told a crowd last August, "is whether it is adopted by others."
The Mayor was speaking from experience. On that very day, standing next to Mayor Garret Nancolas of Caldwell, he was announcing that an idea tried and tested and found true in Boise - Charitable Assistance to Community's Homeless or C.A.T.C.H. - was about to be launched in Caldwell, 27 miles to the west.
Like its counterpart in Boise, the mission of CATCH of Canyon County is pretty straightforward - to provide the space, the time and the resources homeless families - especially those with children - need to get back on track. Its hope was to provide permanent housing to 12 to 15 families at a time and up to 30 families a year.
Another measure of the success of an idea is the kind of support it generates. And CATCH of Canyon County is passing that with flying colors too. Though less than a year old, it's already got an established network, accepting referrals from the Salvation Army, Western Idaho Community Action Program, Hope's Door, Valley Crisis Center and Lighthouse Rescue Mission in a 10-county area of western Idaho.
In just nine months, CATCH of Canyon County has also already generated tremendous community support, receiving help from more than 40 local churches, civic organizations private businesses and, of course, the City of Caldwell and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. HUD's also playing a role, providing almost $270,000 in Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help CATCH pay the salary of a full-time caseworker.
But maybe the most important measure of success is found among the people that good idea is intended to benefit. People like Dear who told CATCH it had "helped us to be able to spend valuable time together which wasn't possible with me at the shelter."
Or people like Sarah who said her family was "at the bottom, hopeless, and left with no options and your program reached out and lifted us up and showed us we can succeed."
Or people like Melanie, the very first of the 15 families - including 31 children - that CATCH has helped since last August. Before being referred to CATCH, she and her son had been homeless for a year, traveling back and forth between three shelters. Now she's got her own apartment and her future back. The program, she told The Idaho Post Tribune, "gives people their faith in their community back, their faith in their country back. It shows people you're not alone in your situation." Without it, she was sure, she'd still be homeless.
By all measures, CATCH has worked to help homeless families in Boise. Talk to Dear, Sarah or Melanie and it's clear it's working in Caldwell too. No wonder that, last August, Mayor Bieter expressed the hope that CATCH would catch on "throughout southwest Idaho and eventually the entire state." Good ideas always do.
Content Archived: December 2, 2013