Homelessness continues to increase United States. in Denver, there are at least 5,700 people homeless a local study revealed. And with many more living in long-term poverty, John Parvensky, the president of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), came across a solution to the severe shortage of affordable housing,
Parvensky purchased and converted a hotel into affordable housing. The former Quality Inn & Suites located on Quebec Street in Park Hill in now 139 microapartments for individuals or couples who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Named Fusion Studios, the development is a source of relief for some of Denver’s homeless to rebuild their lives.
The former hotel was purchased for $8.4 million—secured with private, city and state funds— and is Parvensky’s seventeenth building opened to help the homeless in 3 decades of work.
“The project was really born out of desperation,” Parvensky said. “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.”
Since Denver passed an urban camping ban, which was ruled unconstitutional by a Denver County judge, yet still enforced by the city pending appeals, Parvensky set out to create an affordable housing option to help solve the problem. Fusion Studios was developed by Renaissance Housing Development, an arm of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and provides move-in ready apartments. Each fully-furnished room starts at 300 square feet and includes a private bathroom and kitchenette. A food pantry will also be available to residents.
The former hotel has 24-hour security staff including a front desk attendant, a full-time property manager, an assistant property manager, housekeeping and maintenance staff.
“This really shows what we can do when we get creative about problem solving and affordable housing,” Gov. Jared Polis said.
Gov. Polis said the coalition’s six-month revamp is an “example of cutting through the red tape … at a teeny fraction of the cost of building something new and a teeny fraction of the time.”
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will join forces with Denver Health and the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative to name a few organizations, to fill the rooms on a “rolling basis” requiring residents to only pay 30 percent of their income for rent. Up to 25 of the rooms will be specifically used as housing for people “needing stability” before moving into permanent housing, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
“I truly hope we can replicate this model and these partnerships at other sites in Denver and get more of our people housed affordably,” Britta Fisher, executive director of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST), said.