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Affordable housing project in Denver would provide homes for people living with brain injuries

The apartments would be available to people at 30% of the area median income and below, who are either living on the streets or at risk of becoming homeless.

DENVER — Finding affordable housing in Denver is difficult, especially for people who have suffered a brain injury, according to the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC).

BIAC estimates that about 40% of people who are homeless in Denver would screen positive for a brain injury. In an effort to get them off the streets, the alliance has partnered with Brothers Redevelopment, a Denver-based nonprofit that provides housing services, to build 72 new apartments specifically for people living with a brain injury.

“People with a brain injury find it hard, in general, to get services, in part because of the nature of the injury, concentration, memory, mood issues can all impact someone's ability to work the system and get the services they need -- and that includes housing,” said Gavin Attwood with BIAC.

A vacant lot at 7900 E. Colfax, just east of Quebec, would be redeveloped for the housing project. The apartments would be available to people at 30% of the area median income and below, who are either living on the streets or at risk of becoming homeless, a summary of the plan states.

According to the plan, BIAC would offer support, counseling and resources for tenants, so that they may gain independence. Brothers would provide housing services like rental and utility assistance and classes for prospective homebuyers.

“It could be substance abuse, it could be case management, it could be behavioral health. There's a range of opportunities that we will provide in that building to allow individuals to thrive in their community,” Atwood said.

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A Denver City Council committee passed the $19.6 million project on Tuesday. It now goes to the full council for approval.

If approved, construction would begin next winter. The current timeline projects a construction end date of spring 2022.

Atwood expects some people may live there for a few years. Others may live there for the rest of their lives.

If this project succeeds, BIAC may consider adding more similar developments in the future.

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