DENVER (KDVR) — Denver is working to house a thousand people by the end of the year, but other housing developments were already in the works before the mayor launched his plan.
On Tuesday, the city celebrated a separate project getting ready to open in the middle of all the other construction. Come next year, dozens of older people who are homeless in Denver will have a place to stay thanks to a collaboration between the city and a community organization.
“This is really inspiring, I think, to see the kind of momentum we know we need,” Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said about the housing development.
Momentum is building around the city as more shovels hit the ground for housing projects to get more people off the streets and into stable housing.
“This is the second permanent supportive housing development that we’ve welcomed to Council District 3, and we have two more that are coming,” Denver City Council President Jamie Torres said. “And that kind of response needs to be welcomed in all of our districts tenfold. We need an exponential number of these kinds of projects.”
Housing success rate touted at 80%
Separate from the mayor’s plan to house 1000 people by the end of this year, leaders of the St. Francis Center have been working on the Apartments West location on Federal Boulevard for years.
“These will be permanent, and that doesn’t mean people will stay here forever, but there is no term on their lease,” said Nancy Burke, St. Francis Center CEO. “So if a person comes in and they choose to stay here, tenancy is voluntary. We will do have everything we can to help them remain housed with us, but we do have people who become stable who potentially reconnect with family or they become employed.”
Burke said the organization has of success rate of about 80%.
The apartment housing that leaders broke ground on Tuesday will host 59 unhoused people who are 55 and over. It is the group’s third senior program, complete with service providers on site to help people. The city contributed more than $5 million toward the project.
“Working with the city was a very productive process,” Burke said. “They were extremely responsive. These projects, as the mayor mentioned, there are probably five or six different funders in the project, so it takes a lot of collaboration between those funders and constant communication.”
The groups are hoping all the collaboration and communication pay off late next year when the housing development opens.