Laurie White/Whitelight Image Photo and Art

Mason Place embraces the principles of trauma-informed design to give residents a sense of safety in their physical environment.

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, the 60-unit permanent supportive housing development is home to individuals who were homeless, including many who were chronically homeless. Ten units are reserved for veterans.“The intersection of trauma-informed design and permanent supportive housing is perfect,” says Kristin Fritz, chief real estate officer at Housing Catalyst. “You are being very deliberate and thoughtful while housing a population with high levels of trauma.”

To create Mason Place, Housing Catalyst repurposed a former movie theater by looking at the building through a trauma-informed design lens. This led to the building being reimagined with an atrium with skylights, large windows in units and common spaces, live plants, and wood trim to create a soothing environment. In enclosed areas where people may feel vulnerable, like laundry rooms, there are windows and glass doors to provide a feeling of safety yet openness.

Laurie White/Whitelight Image Photo and Art

In addition, everyone who works in the building, including maintenance and security staff, is trained in mental health first-aid and trauma-informed care.Housing Catalyst is partnering with local agencies to provide robust resident services. It’s working with the project’s investor to allow for a capitalized service reserve and for sizing the debt to account for increased operating costs. The 10 units for veterans are supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program.

The $19.4 million development has been life-changing for the residents. “We’ve seen people have tremendous health improvement and access health care in a way they could not while living on the streets,” Fritz says.