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Foundation and nonprofit discuss youth affordable housing and celebrates new groundbreaking in Denver

Groundbreaking officially takes place for Denver affordable homes
Groundbreaking officially takes place for Denver affordable homes 00:47

A $27 million project by Pennrose, Rivet Development Partners and the Colorado nonprofit, TGTHR, held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Construction began in January 2023 at 2700 Wewatta Way for the 56-unit affordable supportive housing development for youth between the ages of 18 to 24.

It's been a project that has been in the works for more than three years.

Supporters of this project hope to help youth transition out of homelessness and into independent living.

Shannon Cox Baker, regional vice president for the Pennrose Mountain Region, is developing the complex, with the Colorado TGTHR to help youth at risk of homelessness along with those getting out of Denver's foster care system. 

"The project itself is housing in part, but the real heart of it is the services that are provided on-site to the residences that will live here," Cox-Baker said. 

The project will provide furnished affordable housing while providing access to mental health, social, employment and education services for the youth. 

Elly Johnson, chief officer of TGTHR, believes this has been working in Boulder and will only help Denver.


"It is incredibly important and we know there is a housing crisis across our state and particularly with young people. And the numbers show this is a huge need and we are excited to see the community support that has rallied for this cause," Johnson said.

This is similar to the 1440 Pine Street units in Boulder which are also aimed to help younger individuals experiencing homelessness.

Last year, they housed 82 young people and 67% of them transitioned into independent living.

Carly Scholtz, a transition specialist for TGTHR, believes this gives the youth a sense of hope for their future.

"It is amazing to see how resilient these youth are especially at a young age having gone through a web of experiences," Scholtz expressed.

From July 2021 through June of 2022, the Metro Denver Homeless initiative identified nearly 1,800 young adults under the age of 25 accessing services related to homelessness. Developments like Pennrose are hoping to cut those numbers.

Housing program manager, Sydney Ray, believes their program is unique because they meet youth where they are at.

"We want to make a replicable program that can continue across the country because it is definitely a need beyond boulder and Denver and beyond Colorado. Nationwide we need programs like this for transition-age youth," Ray said. 

Rent will be 30% of each individual's median income.

According to TGTHR, on average, youth spend 18 months in the program before transitioning out. At least 45% of the people in the program either have jobs or are attending school.

The new community is expected to open in April 2024.

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