The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will appeal the federal government's decision to deny their proposal for 59 acres of land at the Federal Center in Lakewood.
Title V of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistant Act allows organizations like the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to use federal property that is no longer needed, to help with homelessness.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which previously approved the Coalition's plan for temporary housing, followed by five permanent structures, denied the Coalition's financing plan.
"The plan that we put forward was approved in terms of the use of the site, but then HHS came back and said that our financing plan did not meet their threshold standards," said Colorado Coalition for the Homeless President John Parvensky.
Phase 1 includes 250 temporary beds in tents and modular pods, as well as a solar array on the 15 acres that are contaminated by old burned trash and asbestos. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has given the OK for that part of the parcel to be used.
According to Parvensky, phase one would cost just shy of $9 million.
"The on-going operating costs, providing the staffing, security, utilities for the site would be about $2.6 million a year," said Parvensky.
In comparison, he said the Renaissance Downtown Lofts, which will open this month with 100 units, cost $22 million.
"That $9 million investment, to be able to utilize the 59-acre site, we feel is a very good bargain," said Parvensky.
9NEWS has not yet seen the denial letter from HHS, but has requested it from both HHS and the Coalition. According to Parvensky, HHS did not approve of the plan to pay for the solar array.
"On the solar farm, they felt that it was speculative because we didn't have actual investors and lenders signed up to actually carry out that project," said Parvensky, who said they have consultants that showed proof there is interest in the project.
"We didn't have to have the actual commitments or the actual funds, but we had to have a reasonable financing plan," said Parvensky.
He said the proposal was also denied because they turned in the wrong copy of a sales agreement which was missing a signature.
Parvensky said they plan to file an appeal directly to HHS decisionmakers by Wednesday.
"If we're not successful in getting them to change their mind, we'll likely be back in the court," said Parvensky.
"Do you see your plan of temporary housing and them permanent housing happening on this land?" asked 9NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.
"We're committed to doing everything we can to move this forward to, either make the plan that we put forward to the federal government work, or to come up with an alternate that works for the city of Lakewood and Jefferson County," said Parvensky. "We've reached out to the city from day one to say that our initial plan may not be the best use of that land, and if there's an alternate that we can come together, in order to meet the needs of families and individuals who are homeless in Lakewood and in Jefferson County."
If the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless acquires the site, the federal government would not receive any money for the land.
"HHS has continually, as has GSA, continually refused to parcel out to allow us acquire less than the whole amount of land," said Parvensky.
GSA is the U.S. General Services Administration which manages federally-owned real estate.
"That could be a great location for mixed use. For parks, for businesses, for retail, for housing, maybe there is a homeless component there?" said Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul.
The city of Lakewood had an opportunity to acquire the land in a swap with the federal government, but decided against the plan. Lakewood would have built two buildings at approximately $26 million for the federal government to use, in exchange for the 59-acre site.
Paul points out that the city of Lakewood and Jefferson County are in need of homeless services.
There are currently 17 emergency shelter beds in all of Jefferson County, offered by The Action Center, which receives zero funding from Jefferson County or any city in the county.
In comparison, Foothills Animal Shelter can house 600 animals. Though, the animal shelter only received 20 percent of its funding -- $750,000 -- from city or county sources in 2016.
"This problem is not going away. So, the idea of we don't want it here, I understand that, but we have to address it and eventually something's going to happen somewhere. Whether it's in the city of Lakewood, whether it's in Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County, we are looking at having serious conversations of finding a solution," said Paul.