The former site of an aging, crime-ridden budget motel is now home to transit-oriented affordable housing for some of Denver’s most vulnerable families and individuals.
The 103-unit Renaissance at North Colorado Station, developed by Renaissance Housing Development Corp. and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, comes at a time when there’s an estimated need for 27,000 units of housing affordable to households earning less than 30% of the area median income in Denver.
“We are seeing an escalating number of families and individuals who are homeless in Denver,” says John Parvensky, president and CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “We decided we needed to treat it like a mixed-use development and target it to a range of homeless populations.”
The development is providing housing and a wealth of services for four specific groups: 30 units for homeless families; 26 units for homeless veterans; 28 units for chronically homeless individuals who are high utilizers of expensive city emergency service systems as part of the Denver Social Impact Bond program; and a separate recovery wing of secured housing for 19 graduates of the coalition’s Fort Lyon Supportive Substance Use Recovery program.
Completed in February 2016, Parvensky says the development is seeing overall success. “We’re at 97% of the initial tenants still in. For a group coming from chronic homelessness and multi-year homelessness, that’s very positive.”
The development attracted a variety of project-based and tenant-based rental assistance vouchers to ensure that all residents pay no more than 30% of their income on housing.
Given the need for more supportive housing in Denver, the development team combined competitive 9% low-income housing tax credits with private-activity bonds and 4% tax credits to create an additional 33 units on-site. In addition to local and state support, the $22.6 million development received construction financing and tax credit equity from U.S. Bank.