First-of-its-kind facility to provide housing and health care to the homeless in downtown Denver
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) opened a new facility in downtown Denver on Thursday that will provide both housing and health care to people experiencing homelessness.
The Renaissance Legacy Lofts and Stout Street Recuperative Care Center is the first mixed-use housing development in the state to provide medical respite and recuperative care for patients discharged from the hospital who do not have a place to live but continue to require access to therapeutic support.
The $46.5 million facility will provide 98 units of affordable and supportive housing and has the capacity to meet the immediate health needs of 500 people annually. CCH expects to have all 75 medical respite beds ready by the end of the year.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock along with CCH and community leaders were on hand at the center’s grand opening last week to launch its services.
“Legacy Lofts is a game-changing resource for our community,” Hancock said at the opening. “Today’s opening underscores our housing first approach and is a huge step forward in building a healthy, housed, and connected Denver. Housing and health are inextricably linked, and Legacy Lofts will stand as a beacon of opportunity for our unhoused neighbors for decades to come.”
Metro Denver’s homeless population grew by more than 12% during the pandemic to more than 6,800 as of January this year, with 50% housed in emergency shelters, 19% in transitional housing, and 30% unsheltered according to the Metro Denver Housing Initiative (MDHI). It estimates that 31,000 individuals across Metro Denver’s 7 counties experience homelessness throughout the course of each year.
Among those experiencing homelessness in Metro Denver, 30% have a chronic health condition, 37% have mental health issues, and 19% struggle with a disabling condition.
US Rep. Diana DeGette who submitted a request for congressional funding on behalf of CCH last year helped secure $2 million for the project and was also on hand to celebrate the development’s launch.
“This new facility is going to be able to provide help to hundreds of more people right here in the heart of Denver and at the time when they’re the most vulnerable and susceptible to debilitating issues,” DeGette said.
As a Federally Qualified Health Center CCH currently operates 6 health centers and a mobile clinic outreach program in Colorado. It also provides integrated health care to more than 15,000 patients annually and operates 20 housing developments that house more than 4,500 individuals on any given night. The coalition advocates for substantive state, federal, and city-level legislation to address the crisis of homelessness.
The Nov. 2nd 2022 Colorado State of Reform Health Policy Conference will feature a panel called “Housing & food insecurity as health issues” that will share local insights on the housing crisis in Denver and across the state. If you’re interested in hearing more information on this topic and attending the panel, you can register here.