DENVER (CBS4) – From the outside, the Saint Francis Warren Residences still look like the historic church that has been on the corner of 14th and Gilpin Street for decades. Inside, the sanctuary has been converted into a community kitchen with dormitory-style rooms offering 48 transitional housing units for homeless people.
“What we’re really trying to do is provide a safe space for people. A church in itself can be a sacred space, ”said Katie Symons, a supportive housing consultant who worked on the Warren Residences project for 4 years. “48 units won’t solve the whole problem, but Denver and the surrounding communities are doing everything they can to solve the problem. “
30 people have already moved into the Warren residences. They pay 30% of their income in rent and can stay as long as they need. It’s the start of a pipeline of five projects the city is helping fund to secure more housing units for homeless people.
“We have several varieties of supportive housing. When you look at a place like this, it’s really all about that community and private aspect. We have another project that recently opened, called Valor on the Fax, and it serves head injury foci, ”said Britta Fisher, housing manager for the City and County of Denver.
“We have five different projects that offer these 299 supportive housing units. it is housing with enveloping supports to help people keep their housing.
The city is already using the money raised through the voter-approved Homeless Resolution Fund tax.
“The solution to homelessness is always housing. We need projects like Warren Residences to have housing for people who were previously homeless to move out and keep housing here in the Denver community, ”Fisher said.
“We know it saves the city money by actually housing people instead of keeping them flowing through systems. Being on the streets, being in shelters, going to drug rehab, emergency rooms and jails, ”Symons said. “We can solve this problem by providing housing and support services to people in need. “