FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2018
Vice President of Communications and Public Policy
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
DENVER, CO—The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless held its Grand Opening of Renaissance Downtown Lofts, a unique space on 0.49 acres in downtown Denver that will house 100 people experiencing chronic homelessness. The Lofts are part of the unique Denver Social Impact Bond (SIB) program, a pay-for-success model aimed to shift $7m of taxpayer funding from high utilization of the jail and emergency services to providing housing and resources to people experiencing homelessness.
Mayor Michael Hancock joined Coalition President John Parvensky in thanking the many individuals and organizations who made this project come to life. “Denver’s Social Impact Bond program pairs vital healthcare and other wraparound services with a permanent home to provide the city's most vulnerable population with the support they need to improve their lives and well-being. I want to thank all of the partners involved, from Social Impact Bond funders to the city and state agencies that have provided financial assistance to our incredible service providers for being a part of this ambitious and innovative effort that is measurably improving the lives of Denver’s people," said Mayor Hancock.
John Parvensky presented the City with a plaque to show gratitude for strong collaboration on the vision of this project. He also celebrated the success of the first year of the Social Impact Bond, which began housing people experiencing homeless a year ago: “The most amazing thing has been the level of engagement with our clients. The myth out there is that there are many people living on the streets by choice. The initial results of the Social Impact Bond busts this myth: of the first 250 homeless individuals randomly referred to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Mental Health Center of Denver through the SIB, only one refused housing and support. This, for a population that was not actively seeking housing, demonstrates that when respectfully engaged and offered a choice of housing and service options, more than 99% said YES.”
Carrie Craig, Director of Housing First and ACT Services, shared her experience for the past two years as this project has come into existence, culminating [for now] with the Renaissance Downtown Lofts. “I am also honored and privileged to work with the people experiencing homeless chosen for this project. Or shall I say, people formerly experiencing homelessness thanks to this project! The people we have met share some of the most difficult stories you will ever hear but are some of the most inspirational, resilient, smart, funny people you could ever hope to meet,” said Craig.
Maurice Cushionberry, who was housed through the Social Impact Bond a year ago shared his story with attendees. He has been stably housed for over a year, saying he feels the sunlight shining on him, but now it’s through blinds instead of tree branches. He thanked the Coalition for its work to help him through this challenging part of his life, though he is building up his confidence, rekindling relationships with family, working at a job he enjoys, and even taking vacation. “Hope,” he said, “means a lot. To me, ‘hope’ means ‘housing, opportunity, and excellence’.”
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 people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness 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 more than 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 18,000 individuals and families each year. Learn more at www.coloradocoalition.org.