By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – The waitlist for affordable housing in one Denver neighborhood just got a little shorter. The city celebrated its latest effort in increasing housing stability Wednesday in Globeville. The Stella offers 132 affordable apartments, along with life-changing support in North Denver.

The Stella is located on the campus of Laradon, a nonprofit that empowers children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through programs and services. In 2019, The Elisabetta opened on Laradon’s campus. With the addition of The Stella, there are now 223 affordable apartments between the two complexes.

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Some units at The Stella are dedicated to people transitioning out of homelessness.

Doug McNeill, CEO of Laradon, knows it can be difficult for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to find housing. He says some are at risk of becoming homeless themselves.

“If you have IDD and you’re not experiencing homelessness, you may be living with an aging caregiver. You’re at risk. We don’t want our IDD population to experience homelessness,” said McNeill.

Laradon will assist individuals with IDD, who qualify under Denver Housing Authority, to find housing.

McNeill says there’s land nearby, owned by Denver Housing Authority, where Laradon plans to build similar units.

Funding for The Stella comes from partners like the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and the City and County of Denver Economic Development Office.
The City of Denver is still working to keep up with the growing need for more affordable housing.

“In our five-year plan for affordable housing, we need to see 7,000 homes built here in Denver in the next five years,” said Britta Fisher, Executive Director of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability.

“Here we have 1,2,3, and 4 bedroom units, family-sized units, that people wanted to see in this community,” said Fisher.

In addition to affordable apartments, The Stella is home to Laradon’s Career Center.

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It consists of training areas and computer stations for clients. Laradon offers employment services to over 100 people with disabilities. With the new space, they hope to expand their reach.

“We’re willing to partner with others so we can use it as a training ground for people without disabilities to become gainfully employed,” said McNeill.

Tori Mason