By Shemar Magee
West Colfax will be getting 130 new affordable apartments in early 2019 as part of a development partnership between The Delores Project and Rocky Mountain Communities.
This project on 12th Ave. and Knox Court will go beyond supporting those who are rent-burdened. These apartments also include programs to support single women, transgender individuals and people facing homelessness.
It starts with 35 units of permanent supportive housing for people facing homelessness. Those 35 units will be one bedroom efficiencies about 500 square feet large, according to Kara Washburn, executive assistant to RMC’s CEO.
The Delores Project, a shelter that houses unaccompanied women and transgendered individuals, will further support those tenants with life skills, physical health checkins, mental health and social engagement, according to Executive Director Terrell Curtis.
“Living in an apartment after being on and off the streets can be very overwhelming, very intimidating, and very isolating because they’re often coming from a service where there’s mass services and now they don’t have to go to those places to get all those needs,” Curtis said.
So that means that part of the team might go check up on a tenant they haven’t heard from. And the permanent part of the supportive housing means that tenants are able to stay as long as they need.
The other 95 affordable units will go to families and individuals that earn less than 50 percent of area median income. There will be 25 one-bedrooms, 58 two-bedrooms and 12 three-bedrooms.
One bedroom units are 600 square feet, two bedroom units are 800 square feet and three bedroom units are about 1,000 square feet, according to Washburn.
As for the services to support those 95 tenants, Curtis says there’s some overlap between the types of programs that they would use. But the difference between them comes down to a different level of service and engagements.
When it comes time to find all 130 tenants, Curtis says the hope is some housing-ready folks will come from The Delores Project, some from their partners and others from additional marketing. And they can’t select based on gender, so there will be some men in the mix.
The project broke ground last month and it comes at an opportune moment.
“This is historically a working class neighborhood so as gentrification is screaming toward us from the St. Anthony’s redevelopment, we have this chance to take this prime parcel of land and make it beautiful and impactful for the community and set the stage for what housing development can look like on the west side,” Curtis said.
Additional reporting by Megan Arellano.
Shemar Magee is Denverite’s fall 2017 high school intern.