DENVER — On Friday, Denver's Department of Housing Stability (HOST) announced that the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) approved the acquisition of the Best Western Central Park hotel on Quebec Street to convert it into permanent supportive housing. The purchase of this 194-unit hotel is in support of Mayor Mike Johnston's emergency declaration to end encampments and help 1,000 unhoused Denver residents, the department said.
The acquisition is still pending City Council action, but once it is finalized, the renovated property will be bought for almost $26 million, "using approximately $11 million from the DHA Delivers for Denver (D3) bond funds made possible through an intergovernmental agreement with the City and County of Denver, as well as a bridge loan of $16 million through Northern Trust," said HOST in a press release. "[HOST] will submit a resolution request to Denver City Council in the coming weeks to provide $16 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the acquisition via payment to the bridge lender."
According to HOST, the purchase is expected to close by mid-August, and the start of a lease to the City — which DHA will do through HOST for a "nominal annual rate and basic maintenance costs" — is thought to start Sept. 1 of this year. Until the building can be converted into supportive housing, HOST is said to contact a partner to offer non-congregate shelter along with supportive services.
Of the hotel's 194 units, 40% of them will be reserved for tenants who earn 30% of area median income and one unit will be for staff — more than half of the units already have kitchenettes, which is "ideal for supportive housing," said HOST.
“Unsheltered homelessness is an emergency situation in Denver, and we are laser-focused on bringing 1,000 people safely inside while permanently decommissioning encampments by the end of 2023,” said Johnston. “This acquisition is the first key piece of that puzzle and puts us on a solid path to achieving our goal, connecting our unhoused neighbors to housing and low-barrier shelter, and improving quality of life in neighborhoods across our city.”
Counting this purchase, 11 sites have been made available with land acquisition resources from the D3 partnership between DHA and the City and County of Denver, which uses "property tax mill levy revenue from Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund, in part, to expedite and expand a pipeline of supportive housing residences," said HOST.
“Partnerships are essential to creating stable housing options for those exiting homelessness in our community. The acquisition of hotels for conversion to supportive housing helps expand the pipeline quickly by leveraging existing buildings,” said Laura Brudzynski, executive director of HOST. “We’re proud to help move another hotel acquisition forward for supportive housing, and are excited about the opportunity to provide non-congregate shelter as an interim use at this site prior to its conversion to housing.”
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