A group of homeless advocates in Colorado have purchased and renovated a former Quality Inn & Suites hotel building, then re-opened the building as an affordable apartment for the homeless. The building will open this month, and has 139 microapartments for people who need somewhere to stay.
The property was redeveloped by a group called the Renaissance Housing Development, which is a branch of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
Now called “Fusion Studios,” the owners gave a press conference outside of the property on Quebec Street in Park Hill last month.
The rooms will be rented out on a sliding scale, where tenants will pay no more than 30% of their total income.
John Parvensky, who has been running the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless since 1985, said that the project was “born out of desperation.”
“We were scratching our heads trying to figure out how we can shorten the time period so that the people who are on the streets tonight have a place to call their home as quickly as possible,” Parvensky told the Gazette.
Denver’s homeless population has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including a ban on camping that is still enforced within city limits despite being ruled unconstitutional by a Denver County judge.
The project was made possible due to a variety of different loans and grants. First, a bridge loan from Northern Trust which allowed them to acquire the former hotel for $8.4 million. Then the Denver Housing Authority’s D3 Bond Program Funds provided nearly $5 million in permanent funding. They also received over $4 million from the Colorado Division of Housing and $3 million from the Colorado Department of Human Services. The Wells Fargo Foundation even donated $150,000 for supportive services to new residents.
Housing units of this size usually take years to construct, but Fusion Studios was converted into an apartment complex in just six months.
According to one local study conducted in the Denver area, there are at least 5,755 homeless people currently living in the city.