The Finance and Governance Committee of the Denver City Council awarded Tuesday $17.7 million worth of assistance to Volunteers of America to build the 60-unit Theodora Family Hotel, 4855 W. Colfax Ave. The five-story hotel will replace the former family hotel shelter currently on the property.
The committee voted to issue $13.3 million in RISE general obligation bonds and a $4.4 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). “The 2021 RISE Denver General Obligation Bond Program invests $38.6 million toward housing and shelter, including $30 million toward shelter facility acquisition and improvements, which is partially funding a total development cost of $27,369,923 for the Theodora Family Motel project,” according to presentation from city staff to the City Council.
A 60-year covenant will be placed on the property ensuring it remains affordable housing. For the first 20 years it will operate as a non-congregant shelter. For the next 40 years it would be permanent supportive housing.
According to the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative Point in Time count, more than 9,000 people experienced homelessness on a single night in 2023. That’s up 31% from the previous year. The count included 2,101 people who were homeless with family members. Eleven percent said they were fleeing domestic violence.
Project includes 29 parking spaces
The project will include 29 underground parking spaces. The bathroom preferably will include tubs and floor-mounted toilets; an undercounter refrigerator and countertop microwave; a television, table and chairs, and twin beds. Some rooms will contain up to four beds and others will have connecting doors.
Residents will receive crisis intervention and case management. There will be group and individual education classes. VOA must contain an 80% occupancy at all times. There must always be at least two staff members on site. VOA will be subject to reporting requirements and surprise inspections
Volunteers of American has been providing services in Denver since 1896. In Denver, VOA operates three shelters, two transition and five “rapid re-housing” programs, a homeless prevention center, a resource center with clothing and meals, and a veteran drop-in center.
Even if the committe approves the expenditures, the full City Council still must sign off on them too to become official. Tenants of the current Family Motel will move in October to temporary housing while the new structure is being built. Construction is expected to be completed by February 2025.