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2nd affordable housing complex for people with disabilities opens in Globeville

The Stella has 132 units, and dedicates the first floor to the nonprofit's career center.

DENVER — A new affordable housing project in Globeville hopes to help people find housing and a job.

The Stella is a $46 million development with 132 apartments and a career center for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The new career center at 5190 North Broadway is where 45-year-old Erin Bargman has learned new skills and found employment opportunities. She particularly likes working at Coors Field.

"I sweep," she said. "Making money."

"If you look across the country, the employment rates for those with disabilities are among the lowest of any cohort, and so it's important because they can contribute in a very meaningful way to the workforce of any company," said Doug McNeill, the CEO of Laradon.

McNeill has always worked to find employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but in 2016, he started working on an even bigger project.

"If people don't have housing, it's hard to get anything done," he said.

The population Laradon serves needed affordable housing.

Two years ago, they partnered with Gorman and Company, an affordable housing developer, and built the first apartment complex. On Wednesday, they held the grand opening for the second. In all, the two buildings have 223 units. 

"The rents are going for like $1,200 for a one-bedroom all the way up to about $1,600 for a three-bedroom," said Kimball Crangle, the Colorado Market President for Gorman and Company.

To solve Denver's gap in affordable housing, Crangle said the city would need 50,000 more affordable units. 

McNeill said he's already eyeing vacant lots across the highway from their campus where he'd like to build 200 more units.

The application process to live in these units can take months, but Laradon expects the complex to be filled by the summer.

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