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Community Solutions announces two Denver property acquisitions needed to end veteran homelessness

June 22, 2022

DENVER, CO — Today, Community Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness, announced the acquisition of two properties in Denver, CO to accelerate community efforts to reduce veteran homelessness. The acquisitions are part of a broader initiative to leverage a social impact financing model to introduce additional real estate assets within certain communities participating in Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative. 

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said, “Denver is committed to our regional partnership to end veteran homelessness through the Built for Zero effort. Housing is the foundation to any lasting solution for homelessness. These acquisitions are a welcome addition to our community’s inventory of income-restricted units.”

Built for Zero supports over 100 communities across the country that are working to measurably and equitably end homelessness, using a data-driven, systems approach. This new model will be used to acquire housing that will help select large cities accelerate their journey toward functional zero, a milestone for making homelessness measurably rare, brief and nonrecurring for a population. These acquisitions are part of a proven social impact model to quickly close housing gaps and provide permanent, supportive housing as communities work to reach functional zero. 

David Foster, Manager of the Community Solutions Large Cities Housing Fund, said: “Through our Built for Zero initiative, we work with communities that are proving it is possible to reduce homelessness when they harness a data-driven, systems-focused approach. In the course of working toward zero, many communities — particularly large cities with tight housing markets — need the means to create permanently affordable housing in a way that is faster and more adaptable than many traditional approaches allow. Thanks to this social impact investment model, we will be able to help many large cities accelerate their progress, while continuing to scale a model that offers cities across the country a way to crack this critical challenge for ending homelessness.”

Since 2015, the Metro Denver region has been participating in Built for Zero and working to drive towards functional zero. As part of that work, it has created a coordinated homelessness response system that uses quality, real-time, by-name data to show progress towards reducing and ultimately ending veteran homelessness.

Missy Mish, LCSW, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Homeless Program Acting Section Chief, said: “We appreciate new opportunities to connect local needs with solutions. Ending veteran homelessness and increasing permanent housing placements are efforts that depend on close coordination between VA and community organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges in finding housing within local rental markets. In Eastern Colorado, data shows the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the Denver metro area was cut by 15 percent in 2021, as national rates stalled. This is an area benefiting from incredible local commitments to end veteran homelessness.”

As of June 1, 2022, 395 veterans experiencing homelessness were on Denver’s real-time, by-name list. Of those veterans, over 100 currently have a housing resource, such as a housing voucher or subsidy, and are looking for an available unit. However, there is not enough supply to move the qualified veterans into housing. Acquiring Avon North and South will demonstrate a model that is being used to help close the supply gap and provide local, permanent housing and services that will support the individual needs of tenants so they remain housed. As tenants turn over, the open units will be matched with veterans using the by-name data. Property details:

Avon North

  • Location: 2850 S Federal
  • Units: 63
  • Sale Price: $12,600,000

Avon South

  • Location: 2880 S Federal
  • Units: 36
  • Sale Price: $7,200,000

The properties will be managed by Apartment Management Consultants, LLC (AMC) using Community Solution’s enhanced property management plus model, that provides services and support to all tenants to ensure they can stay stably housed.

Avon North and South were acquired with financial support from Kaiser Permanente, a core partner of Community Solutions since 2019, through the social impact financing model. As part of the partnership, Kaiser Permanente has worked to identify and leverage resources and opportunities to make meaningful reductions in homelessness in its shared footprint with Built for Zero.

THE MODEL

The acquisition and conversion of housing will scale a unique and proven model that Community Solutions first tested in Denver with Abrigo Apartments next to the region’s VA Medical Campus. Community Solutions has also purchased properties using this approach  in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore and Santa Fe. 

Social impact investing has opened up a critical pathway to addressing the housing gaps needed to get to zero. The traditional tax credit financing model used to develop affordable housing is slow and often unable to keep up and adapt to the changing needs within a community.  In comparison, social impact financing delivers projects in less time with less cost while creating greater flexibility to meet the changing needs of a community over time.

This funding will bring housing directly to the system that serves people experiencing homelessness. In order to ensure this funding supports overall reductions in homelessness, the portion of units set aside for those experiencing homelessness will be leased directly through the homeless response system. In Built for Zero communities, these systems are designed to know everyone experiencing homelessness by name, in real time. By increasing direct access to units, communities will be able to promptly connect units with those in greatest need.  

The housing will implement approaches proven to promote long-term housing stability for all of its residents. The buildings will be leased with a 50/50 mix of units for people exiting homelessness and units for middle income individuals. Properties will also be managed using an enhanced property management model that coordinates services and support to all tenants to ensure they can stay stably housed. 

Unlike many approaches, this model is designed to create permanently affordable housing. At the end of a ten-year investment hold period, buildings will be refinanced and transitioned to non-profit ownership. This will ensure long-term affordability and mission-alignment.  

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Community Solutions is a nonprofit committed to creating a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. It leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 100 communities in the United States working to measurably and equitably end homelessness. Using a data-driven methodology, these communities have changed how local systems work and the impact they can achieve. To date, 14 communities have reached a milestone known as functional zero, a milestone for ending homelessness for a population. Learn more at www.community.solutions or follow us at @CmtySolutions. Media Contact: Lauren Barnes, lbarnes@ann

Media Contacts:

  • Community Solutions: Lauren Barnes, lbarnes@community.solutions
  • Metro Denver Homelessness Initiative: Jamie Rife, jamie.rife@mdhi.org
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