Housing Innovation

Housing Innovation


We piloted two ideas from residents to address housing needs in our community.

Tiny house on wheels with stairs leading to the door.

The Need

The City of Boise is committed to doing everything we can to ensure there is a place to live for every resident at every budget. While the city is investing deeply in affordable housing and reducing regulatory barriers for building new housing, we knew we also needed to experiment with innovative approaches to be successful.  

The Solution

We collaborated with more than 200 residents and received more than 500 ideas from the community. The two most promising ideas are being piloted in partnership with LEAP Housing. The first pilot temporarily allows approximately five moveable tiny homes on properties throughout the city. Findings from the pilot will inform a decision about whether to legalize moveable tiny homes in Boise. The first pilot tiny home was permitted in 2023 and is occupied by a family of four. Given early success with the pilot we have expanded it to include Recreational Vehicles.

The second pilot provided homeowners with financial support and technical assistance to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in their backyard under the condition that they rent the ADU at affordable rates for a period of ten years. There was high initial interest in this pilot; LEAP Housing received 89 applications from residents during their first round of outreach. Unfortunately, construction costs and interest rates have increased significantly since the pilot launched. As a result, it is no longer financially feasible for most homeowners to rent a newly built ADU at affordable rents. Several participants were willing to continue in the pilot if the city offered a much larger financial incentive and/or loosened affordability restrictions, but changing the terms of the program in those ways would severely limit its impact.

While we are disappointed the pilot idea was not successful due to market conditions, it yielded insights about ways the city can remove barriers to building an ADU in Boise. These insights will inform future city efforts to encourage ADU construction.

In the Media

Boise’s housing revolution: Tiny homes gain traction as city explores innovative solutions, Idaho Business Review
December 26, 2023

Full Article

Innovation and creativity’: ADU program, tiny homes on wheels part of pilot program between Boise & LEAP Housing, BoiseDev
May 4, 2022

Full Article

Tiny homes? Home sharing? Boise tests new affordable housing concepts, BoiseDev
July 29, 2021

Full Article

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