DENVER (CBS4) – Brothers Redevelopment and the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado got approval from the Denver City Council Monday to move forward with a plan to provide affordable housing for those experiencing homelessness who are also suffering from a brain injury. The new apartment complex will take over a vacant lot on East Colfax Avenue.
“Housing is a huge issue for the clients that we serve,” said Gavin Attwood, CEO of the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado. “We know from our research that about 40% of the individuals who are currently homeless will screen positive for a brain injury.”
The Denver City Council requested that proposals for the land on 7900 E. Colfax follow a standard used across the country in recent years, a living option that is permanent and supportive. More than 30,000 square feet sold for $10 will be under a restrictive 99-year lease providing affordable housing.
“This will be a really key resource for people in the area,” said Jeff Martinez, president of Brothers Redevelopment. “I really give credit to the city for prioritizing permanent supportive housing on one of the most important commercial corridors in the city.”
The complex will have 72 units made up of apartments with one to three bedrooms. Brothers Redevelopment is a nonprofit that works with low income, elderly, and disabled communities at 16 properties.
“The needs are growing,” Martinez said. “I think it will not only bring some new buildings and hopefully a new vibe for the historic commercial corridor.”
Clients for BIAC are referred from other agencies that work with people who have disabilities and hospitals in the area. The nonprofit helps people often discharged from medical care and provide services that can last months to years, even the rest of their lives. The organization plans to provide resources at the new development similar to what it already offers to people with brain injuries, some who are homeless.
“We know that it’s a very big number of individuals who meet these two criteria,” said Attwood. “This is actually the first permanent supportive housing specifically for people who are homeless and have a brain injury in the country.”
The focus for this group will help to inform the design of the apartments, the pathways in the complex, and the common areas inside and outside the building. The details down to the colors on the wall and the windows in the building will likely vary in order to accommodate all residents. The features that may help one person with a brain injury may not have the same effect on another living in the same complex.
“If you’ve seen brain injury, you’ve seen one brain injury,” he said. “There is so much variety of what people’s needs are depending on where they are in their life.”
The timeline for this project hopes for construction to begin at the end of the year and completed in the spring of 2022.
“I would hope we could be setting the standard for other developments like this not only in Colorado but around the rest of the country,” Attwood said.