For Immediate Release
Vice President, Communications and Public Policy
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Office (303) 312-9638
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Wins Federal Center Land Suitability Case Against HUD
59 Acres Determined Suitable for Homeless Housing and Services
Lakewood, Colorado—The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has reversed the unsuitability determination regarding the 59 acre Denver Federal Center in Lakewood. In a letter dated September 25, 2017, HUD rendered a final decision on the suitability determination that the property was suitable for homeless use. The US Attorney’s office confirmed in a status report filed with the US District Court that GSA will now begin the process to cancel its current auction of the site. Once HUD publishes its new determination, homeless service providers will have 30 days to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of their interest in the property. CCH intends to request that the site be transferred to CCH to provide a range of supportive housing, health, employment, and other supportive services for homeless families and individuals in Lakewood and throughout the Metro Denver area.
The Coalition filed a lawsuit and requested a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction on July 25, 2017, to prevent the imminent sale of a 59-acre, surplus portion of the Federal Center property in Lakewood, arguing that HUD’s determination that the property was unsuitable for homeless use, while GSA was marketing and selling the property as suitable for mixed-use and market-rate residential development was arbitrary and capricious and in violation of Title V of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and federal regulations.
On July 28, 2017, Judge Martinez issued a Temporary Restraining Order, prohibiting GSA from selling the property prior to August 11, 2017. In his Order, Judge Martinez found that CCH had demonstrated a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” of proving that “HUD’s unsuitability determination was arbitrary and capricious and therefore in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.” The Court further found that CCH would suffer irreparable injury if the GSA auction was permitted to conclude.
On August 8, 2017, Judge Martinez ordered the General Services Administration (GSA) to refrain from accepting any big or to “otherwise dispose of the Surplus Property before October 16, 2017”. This new order was in response to a joint motion filed by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the US Attorney’s Office representing GSA and HUD. HUD had 30 days to reconsider its initial determination of suitability until September 14, 2017, and extended that deadline an additional 11 days before making its final decision.
“We are pleased that HUD has reversed its previous determination,” said John Parvensky, CEO and President of CCH. “As homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are increasing significantly throughout Jefferson County and the metro Denver area, we believe that this site will help us make a dent in our commitment to reduce and end homelessness. We look forward to working with local partners, government entities, elected officials, and the community to make sure we make the very best use of the site in our continued effort to provide lasting solutions for homeless and at-risk families.”
About Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
The mission of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is to work collaboratively toward the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for homeless and at-risk families, children, and individuals throughout Colorado. The Coalition advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability of those it serves. Since its founding over 30 years ago, the organization has earned state and national recognition for its integrated healthcare, housing and service programs. The Coalition’s comprehensive approach addresses the causes of homelessness, as well as the consequences, offering critical assistance to over 15,000 individuals and families each year. Learn more at www.coloradocoalition.org.