PUEBLO — Rumors about a new building under construction off of Bonforte Boulevard has neighbors concerned.
Several News5 viewers were lead to believe that the structure will be a new homeless shelter, sparking anger that residents in the area were not previously notified. However, the building did not require notification because it is actually an apartment complex.
The caveat? The new apartment units are “designed to lift people up out of homelessness, and into affordable housing," said Teah Miller, Director of Crisis Services at Health Solutions.
“We have individuals like this who are already sleeping outside in our neighborhoods, so why not put them in housing where they have the services they need and they will not be a burden to society and have a higher quality of life.”
Residents will sign a year-long lease for a unit and pay 30% of the rent, 30% of their income, or be able to use one of the apartment's several financial aid opportunities.
Health Solutions, in partnership with several other entities, is spearheading the project. The development is a type of "Housing First" initiative, with the idea that providing someone with housing and regulations grants them more opportunities for bettering their living circumstances, like finding employment or seeking mental health services through Health Solutions.
A very similar project, Journey apartments, launched roughly two years ago. Dee Dee Clement, the Executive Director of Journey's partner Loaves and Fishes ministry, says the program has been a great success in the community ever since it opened.
“This one gentleman that comes to my mind that has been on our streets for many many years and probably a month or so, I saw him sitting in this beautiful picnic area that we had built over there and he had a tie on, he was reading a book, and he was just enjoying the sun," recalled Clement.
The apartments are expected to be complete in July 2021. The project is funded from state and federal dollars.