A 10-story office building on the campus of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority is being adapted into 110 apartments for low-income seniors and transitional housing for patients being discharged from the hospital.

Denver Health and the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) are collaborating on the project, which aims to connect residents with health services.

An administrative building on the recently upgraded campus of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority will be converted into 110 studio and one-bedroom apartments. The homes are expected to be completed by April 2022.
An administrative building on the recently upgraded campus of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority will be converted into 110 studio and one-bedroom apartments. The homes are expected to be completed by April 2022.

The reuse of 655 Broadway is receiving about $18 million in low-income housing tax credit equity from Enterprise Housing Credit Investments.

“Research has shown that health and housing are directly connected,” says Jennie Rodgers, vice president and Denver market leader at Enterprise Community Partners, Enterprise’s parent company. “People with access to affordable, stable housing visit the emergency room less, experience better physical and mental health, and live healthier lives. Enterprise is committed to increasing collaboration between the housing and health fields to create more opportunities for people to thrive.”

Hospitals cannot discharge patients who do not have somewhere safe to go. As a result, it is not uncommon for patients to occupy hospital beds for weeks or months after they require hospitalization as they recover, causing financial strain and a lack of bed availability.

The homes at 655 Broadway will create long-term affordable housing and a safe haven for patients with no other places to turn, according to officials.

“As an anchor institution, we do more than provide high-quality clinical care for the community we serve,” says Robin D. Wittenstein, CEO of Denver Health, a comprehensive health and hospital system. “We use our resources to have a positive impact on many of the factors that impact a person’s well-being. The opportunity to provide safe, transitional housing for some of our most vulnerable patients when they leave the hospital is critical. We are honored to be a part of this solution for our patients and the Denver community.”

The development will feature furnished studio and one-bedroom apartments, 96 of which will be for seniors 62 years and older. The remaining 14 apartments will serve as transitional housing for patients who require additional health care and housing support after being discharged from the hospital.

All residents will have access to on-site management and resident services staff. Ground floor and lower-level amenities include community and activity rooms, a maintenance shop, exercise and physical/operational therapy facilities, and a computer and business center.

“We are proud to leverage the funding through our Delivering for Denver (D3) bonding initiative, which enables us to transform this centrally located commercial property into a vital community resource,” says David Nisivoccia, executive director of the DHA. “We value the collaboration with our longtime partners Denver Health and Enterprise Housing Credit Investments for their commitment to affordable housing and access to quality health services for those who need it most.”

To further develop the partnership and new housing model, Enterprise Community Partners facilitated a design lab, bringing together leaders from Denver Health and DHA to discuss creating a healthy and healing physical environment for the transitional homes. In a facilitated workshop format, participants brainstormed potential design needs, categorized their ideas, and prioritized solutions based on potential impact. The lab was part of Health Begins with Home, Enterprise Community Partners’ five-year, $250 million initiative to build cross-sector partnerships between housing and health care.

655 Broadway will include significant energy-efficiency upgrades and will be certified according to the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. Green features include high-efficiency mechanical systems, Energy Star appliances, use of low-VOC carpet and paints, and improved building sealing and insulation. The building is also proceeding through the National Park Service historic designation process due to its architectural character.