During COVID, organizations like Jesse Tree received an influx of funds to provide emergency rental assistance to families. Today, those funds are drying up but the housing crisis in Treasure Valley shows no signs of slowing down. Jesse Tree and organizations like it need the support of all of us to continue keeping neighbors housed.

That’s why, during these tough times, First Story has provided Jesse Tree with two Giving Grants totalling $7,500.

“Grants like the ones from First Story are really important to us because government grants have lots of different requirements and it takes time to determine if tenants are eligible to apply,” said Katie McInally, Jesse Tree’s Community Engagement Manager. “Our private, foundation, and corporate donations are helping us stop evictions in real-time.”

On top of the pandemic, the need for emergency rent assistance has increased during the housing crisis. During July, Jesse Tree received 469 applications for assistance and nearly 19,000 calls to their hotline. This is a stark contrast to 2020 when they received 6,000 calls for the entire year.

“Our application levels have increased 400% since 2019,” says Katie. “The housing crisis in the Treasure Valley is worse than in a lot of places in the U.S. Rent has gone up 40% in the last two years.”

On average, it costs $2,000 for Jesse Tree to keep a family that’s going through a financial crisis housed. In comparison, once a family is evicted, it typically costs $10,000-$15,000 for them to find new housing, and that cost is often passed on to government organizations and taxpayers.

Jesse Tree provides critical services to renters at risk of eviction and homelessness. The rental and security deposit assistance they offer is not only effective, but it’s economically efficient for families and their communities.

As government funding dries up and the housing crisis persists, Jesse Tree is relying on community members and donors to keep its services going.

“We’re up against a fiscal cliff,” said Katie. “We don’t know if funding will continue so we really need our partners to step up so that we can continue serving the same amount of people as we have been.”

First Story is proud to be one of these essential partners to our neighbors in Treasure Valley.