Ask Us A Question
Projects like these are both complicated and unique. We expect you have lots of questions, such as: Who will live here? What will the building look like? What kinds of programs and services will you offer? Understanding your interests and concerns is important to us. Click the link below to send us your questions. We will post your questions along with a response within a few days.
Who is Attention Homes?
For fifty years, Attention Homes has been providing life-changing resources to youth in crisis. They operate Boulder County’s only overnight emergency shelter for youth up to age 21, a day drop-in center for youth up to age 24, a street outreach program that provides mobile assistance and referrals, and an existing residential group home for teens 12-18 years of age. For more information, visit: www.attentionhomes.org.
What kinds of services does Attention Homes provide at its shelter and drop-in center?
While under Attention Homes’ care, youth receive the following:
- A safe space regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, financial status, or other factors
- Safety and security in one of only two highly structured, licensed facilities in Boulder County
- Healthy meals, clothing, showers and laundry
- Life skills lessons and behavioral coaching
- Case management with employment, substance abuse and mental health counseling
- Family intervention and mediation counseling
- Recreational, cultural, and alternative therapeutic activities
Who is Gardner Capital and why are they involved?
Gardner Capital has developed over $600 million in affordable housing across the US. They will serve as the developer and financial guarantor for the project. They have engaged two local consultants for this project, Ryan Hibbard Jones and Shannon Cox Baker, who both have extensive experience with this type of development and both live in Boulder. Gardner is honored to have the opportunity to contribute to a project team with such committed and talented partners in a world-class city. As a family-owned company, they are committed to making a difference in the communities they serve and are humbled to be a part of this extremely important effort. For more information, visit: www.gardnercapital.com.
Who will be the owner and operator of the proposed development?
The building will be owned by a partnership consisting of Attention Homes, Gardner Capital, and a yet to be determined low income housing tax credit investor. Ross Property Management is an experienced local company and will handle the daily operations as well as annual compliance with local, state, and federal funding requirements. Gardner Capital will be the asset manager and Attention Homes will be the service provider.
Why ages 18-24? Isn’t 18 considered an adult?
The chronological age at which adolescence occurs depends on individual and socio-cultural factors. The World Health Organization and the Society for Adolescent Medicine define adolescence (“youth”) as usually occurring from 10–24 years of age with late adolescence occurring between ages 18-24. Although many youth cope well with the developmental process of adolescence, numerous factors can delay normal progression, including substance use and mental health disorders. Other stressors, such as a history of physical/sexual abuse or neglect, can also provoke psychological, social, and cognitive regression. Navigating this late adolescent stage (18-24) with proper health care and psychosocial supports is crucial to achieving a normal outcome in adulthood. It is a window of opportunity during which youth can, with support, live to their potential and grow into a healthy, responsibly functioning adults.
What’s the average length of stay?
The average tenancy for similar projects is two years.
Is this a shelter?
No – a shelter provides temporary, usually nightly, safety and protection to homeless individuals and families.
No – transitional housing programs provide temporary, time-limited housing – typically up to 24 months – for people experiencing homelessness.
Is this transitional housing?
So, what is supportive housing?
Supportive housing is a combination of non-time limited housing and supportive services in one location. The supportive services provided in supportive housing are what distinguish supportive housing from other types of affordable housing. Across the country, supportive housing has been shown to result in positive outcomes for transition age youth who lack family support and struggle with trauma histories. Generally speaking, residents of supportive housing increase their incomes, work more, get arrested less, make more progress toward recovery, and become more active and productive members of their communities.
Will the young adults who will live here be required to participate in services?
Yes. While traditional Housing First or supportive housing models do not requires services as a condition of residency, Attention Homes Apartments will require that all tenants participate in some form of individualized services. This could range from informal meetings with a case manager to weekly counseling sessions or monthly equine therapy. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that all communities receiving project based Section 8 vouchers (like this one) ensure that residents have regular access to – and participate in services – so it is a federal requirement. Regardless, Attention Homes knows from its own experience serving homeless youth for over 50 years that over 90% will engage with the services offered voluntarily. These young people are motivated to transition successfully to a life of independence and they are eager to take advantage of the support and encouragement available to them.
Almost without exception, yes. While federal funding requirements prohibit discrimination based on geographic origin, we know from experience that people tend to thrive in communities where they feel accepted and supported. The resident selection process, which is managed by Boulder nonprofits and social service agencies, takes this into account. Of the 688 homeless youth served by Attention Homes in 2016, 30% were from Boulder County and 56% were from Colorado. There are more than enough “local” homeless young people to occupy 40 apartments.
Will the people who live here be from Boulder?
What services will Attention Homes provide at the proposed development?
Experienced case managers and clinicians will provide trauma-informed client-centered, strength-based case management coupled with employment and career development, independent living skill support, substance abuse/mental health counseling, family intervention strategies, supported employment and job training opportunities, and an array of pro-social individual and group activities. Tenants will also have access to non-traditional therapies such as art and equine therapy.
How will residents be selected?
Residents will be selected by the service provider (Attention Homes) using various scoring programs and nationally recognized assessment tools such as the TAY-VI SPDAT (Transition Age Youth-Vulnerability Index and Service Prioritization Tool) to evaluate who is eligible and in greatest need of supportive housing. Various social service providers throughout Boulder County will provide referrals and assist with the selection process. Final determination will be based on factors that include city/county of Boulder residency, income qualification, homeless status, and motivation to live in and accept the conditions associated with supportive housing. Just like in any apartment community, the potential resident would go through background checks to exclude sex offenders and individuals with violent criminal histories.
Will this be a clean and sober facility?
This apartment community will not require residents to be clean and sober, nor is it a rehabilitation or drug/alcohol treatment facility. However, staff will consistently reinforce that all behaviors must consider the rights of the individual along with the needs and wellbeing of the community. These behavioral expectations will be enforced through house rules and the lease agreement. For some residents, abstinence will be an immediate goal. For others, the focus will be on improving their quality of life while taking steps to reduce harm – steps that may or may not lead to abstinence. According to the Code of Federal Regulations [24 C.F.R. 100.202(d)], if the behaviors of a potential applicant constitutes a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals, or their tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others, Attention Homes may use this as the basis for rejecting an applicant. Resident safety is integral to the proposed development’s success.
It’s unreasonable to think that young people won’t drink and smoke pot. How will you handle this?
Activities considered illegal by the federal government – such as underage drinking, illegal drug use, and consumption and possession of marijuana – regardless of age, will not be permitted on site. This will be enforced through the lease agreement. Lease violations are cause for lease termination and eviction.
It is also important to acknowledge that while for some, substance use can be debilitating and can undermine relationships, health and survival; for others, it is not necessarily harmful. Since different people need different supports and solutions, the key is to work with a person where they are at, and to give them choices and options. Addressing issues that may have either led to or arisen from the use of substances is an important component of case management services. For more information, on the Harm Reduction Model, visit: http://homeless.samhsa.gov/channel/harm-reduction-273.aspx.
Will there be staff at the community 24/7?
YES. In addition to a commitment to staffing the site 24/7, we will have case managers on-site during the day, in addition to night and weekend staff. There will always be a staff member awake at the site. Case managers, clinicians, service partners and the property manager will also office on site. Interior/exterior video cameras and lighting will provide additional safety and security measures.
Are residents required to stay at the apartment community every night?
No, they are not. This is not an institution. It is an apartment building with supportive housing services. Clients can come and go just like anyone else who leases an apartment.
Can people visit the apartment community?
YES. There will be a 24/7 front door attendant requiring all visitors to sign-in, and no guest can enter the facility without checking in. There will be restrictions on the time and number of guests allowed. Negative behaviors will not be permitted.
Will this development affect the property value of surrounding homes and businesses?
There are numerous studies available online which have analyzed the impact of supportive housing on property values in various communities around the country. Theoretically, supportive housing developments could either depress or raise property values. If the development isn’t well maintained or properly managed, it could have a negative impact on property values. On the other hand, if a new development is attractive or helps to house people who otherwise would be living on the streets nearby, it likely would have a positive impact on property values. Various factors influence property values. In addition to providing valuable services to the community, Attention Homes intends to be conscientious and a good neighbor.
What is the First Methodist Church’s (FUMC) involvement in the project?
FUMC owns the entire block where the site is located – all the properties between Pine, Spruce, 14th and 15th streets. In November 2015, the FUMC congregation overwhelmingly voted in favor of the proposal to construct supportive housing for homeless young adults on this parcel. At that time, the FUMC leadership and congregation entered into a 60-year lease option agreement with Gardner Capital. In exchange for this lease option, Gardner Capital has agreed to assume property management obligations for the multifamily rental properties on site. As a founding partner in Attention Homes, the FUMC has a long-standing history serving Boulder’s homeless population and the proposed development is ideally aligned with their mission to “love God by loving others.” For more information, visit: www.fumcboulder.org.
Why will this building have individual units instead of suites?
Individual private living spaces are greatly valued by young people because many have not had the opportunity to control their own privacy in the past. In addition, residents will have varying work and education schedules and individual units will help to minimize disruption.
Why can’t these units be scattered throughout the community?
The number one protective factor for youth that have experienced is trauma is a sense of belonging and community, especially when there is no family safety net. Community living is a developmental norm (i.e. college dormitories) that holds young people accountable through on-site peer and professional support as well as preventing feelings of isolation. Easily accessible community rooms and common areas provide important opportunities for youth to engage in groups, pro-social and physical activities, classes, and community building. The common spaces are under the direct supervision of staff and property management making it easier to establish and enforce rules and cleanliness.
Will smoking be allowed on-site or in the units?
There will be a no smoking policy written into the lease and a designated, private outdoor smoking area will be provided for resident use only. Further, Boulder’s Outdoor Smoking Ban for the Downtown District will be enforced.
What happens with this building long term?
The building will be affordable housing forever. This is a condition of the City of Boulder’s affordable housing program. The property will provide safe, stable, supportive housing to homeless youth so long as there are homeless youth that need housing. Forever is a long time and community needs change over time. Should Boulder end homelessness, then the building will be repurposed to serve other populations in our community that need affordable housing.