As the cost of housing continues to increase at a rapid rate across the United States, along with a shortage of affordable housing, many communities are witnessing an increase in long-term poverty and homelessness.
The homelessness problem in Denver, Colorado, has grown in line with national trends, with one recent study showing that there are 5,755 homeless people living in the Mile High City.
Looking for a solution to the problem, the president of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) spotted an opportunity when a Quality Inn and Suites hotel went up for sale. Located on a major road, he saw the venue had the potential to be used to provide housing to the homeless where they could start to rebuild their lives.
Using a combination of private, state, and city funds, John Parvensky went ahead and purchased the 139-room hotel for $8.4 million, renovated it, and renamed it Fusion Studios. This is now the 17th building of it’s kind that Parvensky has set up to combat the homelessness issue.
This block of ‘microapartments’ will provide shelter and support to the city’s unhoused population who are struggling to survive.
The city has a ban on urban camping so the CCH were trying to find a way to shorten the time people need to spend on the streets before they find a new home. The rooms are available to people coming from shelters throughout the city or directly off the streets.
Each room has a private bathroom and kitchen facilities, with basic amenities including a bed, desk and chair, dresser, television, microwave, and a mini-refrigerator.
Most tenants can only afford to pay around $100 per month, which usually comes from benefits and disability payments. Tenants have access to vouchers from the state and city ensuring they only have to pay 30% of there income for rent.
Fusion Studios has been praised for providing “practically instant housing” by Britta Fisher, the head of Denver’s housing department. She said:
“We all know that we need more housing units, that we need them quickly. I truly hope we can replicate this model and partnerships at other sites in Denver.”
Image credit: Dennis Schroeder, CCH