City Cast

3 Questions With Reporter Mia Maldonado

Blake Hunter
Blake Hunter
Posted on July 13   |   Updated on July 17
The Treasure Valley housing boom has hit areas with high poverty levels, like Caldwell, especially hard. (Getty)

The Treasure Valley housing boom has hit areas with high poverty levels, like Caldwell, especially hard. (Getty)

Idaho Capital Sun reporter Mia Maldonado joined City Cast Boise this week to discuss how a new housing program in Caldwell could become a model for putting homes within reach for Treasure Valley families.

Q: What is the Caldwell Housing Authority (CHA) and what is their mission?

A: They are a low-cost housing organization based out of their campus where they previously used to serve as a migrant labor camp during the Great Depression and they’ve transformed that campus into low housing units for Canyon County families.

Q: You wrote about a new program where the CHA is offering a house at a low cost — what is this project they’re working on?

A: CHA is able to purchase properties and renovate them and use them for affordable housing purposes. This new project — they bought a house really close to the College of Idaho, it’s a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house, newly renovated — and instead of just selling it at full price, they’re selling it below the market rate. It was recently appraised for $310,000 and instead they’re selling it for $170,000, and they’re doing that because Canyon County is a really rural area and we’re seeing a lot of new developments, and the CHA wants to make sure that the person who buys this house really wants to plant roots here.

Q: Thinking about smaller cities like Twin Falls and Ketchum who also have these housing problems, do you think this could be replicated in other areas?

A: There are some similar organizations that do affordable housing projects, but a lot of it comes from the nonprofit sector, so seeing it come from a local government entity like the CHA is really unique. I think that’s definitely the goal of the CHA, and the director, Mike Dittenber, had a really good quote in my story that was, “What I really want to see happen is for developers who are getting rich to set aside two houses and do the same thing. You may only have to spend five weeks in Cabo instead of six this winter, but you’re giving something back to the community.”

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