The Blaine County Charitable Fund was established in the spring of 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide emergency financial assistance to families, regardless of citizenship status.

The organization contracted with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association in April to help administer federal funding from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The nonprofit BCCF has been funded by local philanthropic individuals and organizations, including Lynn Campion and Ted Waddell, Spur Foundation, Wood River Women’s Foundation, Blaine County commissioners and others. Over the last two years, BCCF has raised nearly $500,000 and given away the majority of that money to about 250 households.

BCCF funds are allocated to people who live or work in Blaine County. Assistance can include first and last month’s rent and deposits, gas and grocery cards, and other relief. Initially the organization gave away funds to address an “unforeseen critical need” stemming from COVID-19.

“COVID impacts are still part of our work, but we now serve anybody who has had a reduction in work or extenuating expenses for any reason,” said BCCF Executive Director Mary Fauth. She said BCCF will look toward helping them with rent, based on the previous month’s income, assuming that a family or individual can pay 30% of their income on rent.

“We work to see about filling the rent funding gap,” Fauth said. “We also can help with utilities, transportation and medical costs, on a case-by-case basis.”

In April the BCCF contracted with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association to administer their Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Blaine County.

“We temporarily brought on three new staff so they can provide outreach to give this important source of funds to those that have direct and indirect impacts due to COVID,” Fauth said.

Fauth said the BCCF’s in-person contact hours doubled, then tripled after recently opening a new office in the Sawtooth Business Center (formally Marketron), at 101 Empty Saddle Trail in Hailey. She said the BCCF is now part of a “housing hub” alongside the Blaine County Housing Authority, which administers a list of individuals eligible for assistance at affordable rental units and purchased homes.

Fauth said the new partnership with the Housing and Finance Association has already yielded significant results.

“We’ve already helped to secure approximately $20,000 in Emergency Rental Assistance funds for individuals that were eligible, since May,” Fauth said. “They can provide up to 15 months of rental assistance. The BCCF can provide funding for those who don’t qualify for ERAP.”

Fauth said the BCCF’s partnership with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association runs through September, with a possibility that it will be extended. Applicants for either funding source need not supply a U.S. form of identification.

“A passport or other form of ID from another country will suffice,” she said.

Appointments to apply for Emergency Rental Assistance Program funding can be made by calling the BCCF office at 208-244-5205. Daily office hours are offered with some hours covered by bilingual staff. Hours can be found at www.blainecf.org. 

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