Warren Village III, the first supportive housing project tied to city voucher program, breaks ground at new 89-unit complex

“Poverty is painful. Now we have options.”
5 min. read
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Warren Village III supportive housing project in Athmar Park. Aug. 30, 2023.
Desiree Mathurin/Denverite

Reba Jones moved to Denver in 2013 looking for change and ready to start a family. By 2016, that family was coming together. Her son was due that year and she had given birth to a healthy girl years earlier.

But her boyfriend had become abusive. It was a cycle she'd know since her youth and she was looking to break it.

"I knew the only way to break that cycle, to unravel the chaos and to give [my kids] a new beginning, was for me to get my own self together," Jones said. "Turning over a new leaf is the hardest thing humans have ever done in life. Where you're at, even though it may not be the best living situation, it's comfortable but you can't stay that comfortable for too long."

Her first step toward finding safety and security was reaching out to Warren Village, a nonprofit that assists single-parent families who are unhoused or experiencing housing instability with reaching independence and self-reliance.

She moved into one of their supportive housing communities in 2016 and began working to reach self-sufficiency. Jones said with therapy, financial guidance and education opportunities, she was ready to give herself and her children the life she was looking for.

"I woke up every morning and Warren Village was like, 'Alright who do you want to be today and what do you want to do?" Jones said. "To know that there was someone there asking me those questions in ways I've never been asked before, it truly set the tone...Now my kids will never know how it looks to stand in another government assistance line."

Jones shared her story on Wednesday as Warren Village and several city and state organizations celebrated the groundbreaking of Warren Village III, a new supportive housing complex in the Athmar Park neighborhood. It's the third housing project brought forth by the nonprofit.

Reba Jones ready to throw some dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Warren Village III supportive housing project in Athmar Park. Aug. 30, 2023.
Desiree Mathurin/Denverite

The building at 1390 W. Alameda Ave., next to the Women's Bean Project, will house 89 income-restricted units for families making for households earning up to 30%, 50% or 80% of the area median income. For a family of three, that ranges from $33,510 to $89,360.

Within those units, 79 will be for families exiting homelessness and in need of supportive services.

Those services include financial counseling, mental health assistance for both parents and children, moving assistance, case management and legal services. The 2023 Point-In-Time count, which captures a snapshot of people experiencing homelessness, found that there were 2,101 families in the Denver metro, up from 1,277 the previous year.

Warren Village III will also be the first supportive housing complex to have an early learning center on-site, according to city officials. Some income-restricted properties also have childcare on-site.

Another first at the complex is the use of new city housing vouchers.

In 2020, Denver voters approved a 0.25% sales tax to create the Homelessness Resolution Fund to address homelessness. With that funding the city was able to create project-based vouchers.

Typically federal and state vouchers are hard to get, and once a person receives a voucher, they then face the tough task of finding a landlord willing to accept it. City vouchers will be tied to specific projects, like this one and St. Francis Center West, another affordable housing complex in the works. Once a person qualifies for the voucher, the apartment comes with it.

A total of 29 units will include project-based vouchers funded by the city and an additional 50 units will receive vouchers from the Denver Housing Authority. These vouchers are meant to ensure selected residents won't pay more than 30% of their income on rent.

The vouchers will be provided to the units for over 20 years and will cost up to $22.7 million from the Denver's Homelessness Resolution Fund.

The site of the new Warren Village supportive housing project in Athmar Park. Aug. 30, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

At the groundbreaking, several city and state officials spoke on the funding for the project. Congresswoman Diana DeGette secured about $4 million through a government spending bill Congress approved in December. Some other projects funded by the bill include the purchase and conversion Stay Inn Hotel and the construction of Urban Peak's new shelter.

The Department of Housing Stability provided $3.8 million in gap financing for construction and almost $1.78 million for supportive services over 15 years. Other public finance partners include the Colorado Housing & Finance Authority, Colorado Division of Housing and DHA.

The project is set to be completed in 18 months.

After sharing her story, Jones added that she currently sits on the Warren Village Board of Trustees as the Field Office Project Engineer. She's also a part of the programming committee that sets forth the blueprint plans for families during their stay. It's a way for her to give back and show others that if they need help, they can have it.

"It means giving someone else the tools and helping them get there in a quicker time frame than I did," Jones said. "Poverty is painful. Now we have options...We're breaking the ties to financial trauma so that we can build a life that we're proud of.

Reba Jones' son is ready to throw some dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Warren Village supportive housing project in Athmar Park. Aug. 30, 2023.
Desiree Mathurin/Denverite

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