Housing Catalyst purchased the Midtown Arts Center in January 2018, intending to transform the building into apartments in late 2020. The Midtown Arts Center, currently a performing arts center with a dinner theater, will continue its programs and remain open through August 2019. After that time, the Center plans to move to new location with a larger capacity for its entertainment venue.
Housing Catalyst will begin redevelopment of the building in late 2019. We plan to provide 60 apartments and support services for people with a disability who are homeless. We believe the best way to help end homelessness is by providing safe, affordable homes along with concentrated support services for the most vulnerable people in our community. This supportive housing model has proven to be the most effective way to solve homelessness in cities throughout the country.
About Mason Place:
Our new development will be called Mason Place and it will reflect Housing Catalyst’s high quality design and commitment to sustainability in development. Housing Catalyst will add one more floor to the top of the current building height, which is now two stories tall. The three-story building will contain 60 apartments along with a community room, laundry rooms and offices for staff and services.
This is not a homeless shelter. Services will only be provided to people who are residents of the building. Residents will be screened with a criminal background check and sex offender screening. The building will have staff onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
About Supportive Housing
Supportive housing is a model for addressing homelessness in the United States and many other countries. For people with chronic health conditions, physical disabilities, mental health conditions, histories of trauma, and other struggles, having a home helps them to get adequate treatment and reclaim their lives. This housing model is based on the principles that people need to have stable housing in order to overcome some of their root causes of homelessness. It is a highly effective strategy that combines affordable housing with coordinated services to help people stabilize their lives and move forward. In this setting, people have support systems that help them get better health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, employment counseling, and other resources to reach their goals. In summary, supportive housing gives people the opportunity to live in a safe environment while receiving support for choices that promote health and stability.
About Redtail Ponds:
We have built a similar community in south Fort Collins called Redtail Ponds, which has been enormously successful in changing the lives of men and women since March 2015. Redtail Ponds has won numerous awards, both locally and nationally, and it has become a national model for this type of housing, called permanent supportive housing. More than 80 people who were formerly homeless have been helped with housing and critical services since it opened.
Services for Residents
Case managers will be available for each resident. The goal is to provide residents with the skills and strategies necessary to achieve long-term stability and self-reliance. Case management services range from the simple (using the bus system, proper personal hygiene, or cooking) to the complex (accessing treatment for mental health issues, applying for a job, or obtaining healthcare benefits). We are in the process of selecting service providers for Mason Place. At Redtail Ponds, SummitStone Health Partners and the Veterans Administration work closely on-site with residents to coordinate services for them. In addition to case management, these services include mental health services, substance abuse treatment, employment services and coordination of healthcare and other needed care.
Housing Catalyst has begun the lengthy process of securing private and public funding for the site. Colorado Housing Tax Credits will be a critical component of our funding. These credits provide tax incentives for private investors to invest in the project.
We held a neighborhood meeting on April 9, 2018. If you could not attend the meeting and have any questions, please contact Kim Iwanski (listed in contacts below).
Some public concerns were raised at the neighborhood meeting for Mason Place. Often, people living in homelessness are stereotyped as being welfare-dependent, lazy, irresponsible and dangerous. These perceptions lead to accusations and fear that are often unfounded. There are many causes of people becoming homeless. The number one factor is the lack of affordable housing. The loss of a job, a disabling health condition, an expensive medical incident — any one of these factors can make rent or a mortgage unaffordable. Some people are escaping trauma and have nowhere to go. There are many causes that lead to homelessness, but the truth is that many people without a home want to improve their lives.
Mason Place will have staff onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Residents who experience any type of crisis will have immediate access to staff to help them. Neighbors have staff on-site that they can go to if there are any concerns about the property or behavior of residents.
We are firmly committed to being a good neighbor to the community at large. We seek neighborhood input, we listen to our neighbors and we work to do all that we can to create a positive neighborhood environment. Review our Good Neighbor principles here.
Mason Place is an independent apartment living community in which residents will be screened as they are at any other community. Prospective residents of Mason Place must have been experiencing homelessness and have a disability that is verified by a professional provider. An assessment tool is used to determine vulnerable individuals. It includes indicators such as high mortality risks, health conditions, mental health disorders, and lack of social supports. Applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to living within the supported community and meet federal income guidelines.
Resident screening includes a criminal background check and an intake interview.
People will be denied housing if they:
• Are a registered sex offender
• Have a history of criminal convictions by any household member involving crimes of physical violence against persons or property
• Have any other criminal convictions including drug-related criminal convictions that would adversely affect the health, safety, or well-being of other tenants or staff, or cause damage to the property
Residents sign a lease for one year and that lease is renewable as long as they pay their rent and abide by their lease agreement. Our experience has shown the positive effect that supportive housing has on the lives of formerly homeless individuals. At Redtail Ponds supportive housing community over 93% of residents are still in their apartment after one year.
Mason Place will not be providing any services for people who are not residents. Non-residents cannot loiter, receive goods or services or even apply for housing there. Additionally, we have specific guest policies that differ from most apartment communities. Guests will be required to produce a photo I.D. and sign in and out as a guest and they must also be escorted by a resident at all times. Residents are held accountable for the behavior of their guests and visitors. Guests cannot arrive earlier than 8 a.m. and must leave by 11:00 p.m. or they will be counted as overnight guests. Residents are limited to 14 overnight guests per year, which is a HUD regulation and can be enforced through the lease.
If you have any questions about this development, please contact Kim Iwanski at Housing Catalyst at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-416-2444.
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions sheet for more information.
Links to other resources for more information:
Coloradoan Article, March 28, 2018