Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting: June 27, 2013 1715 W. Mountain Avenue 7:30 a.m.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Permanent Supportive Housing?
Permanent supportive housing is an innovative and proven solution to some of communities' toughest problems. It combines affordable housing with services that help people who face the most complex challenges to live with stability, autonomy and dignity. Supportive housing improves housing stability, employment, mental and physical health, and school attendance; and reduces active substance use. People in supportive housing live more stable and productive lives.
Supportive housing costs essentially the same amount as keeping people homeless and stuck in the revolving door of high-cost crisis care and emergency housing. Supportive housing helps build strong, healthy communities by improving the safety of neighborhoods, beautifying city blocks with new or rehabilitated properties, and increasing or stabilizing property values over time.
What does FCHA intend to achieve with this project?
The project’s goals are threefold: (1) empower and equip formerly homeless and disabled residents with the skills and resources to help them live as independently as possible; (2) strive to integrate the building and its residents into the surrounding community; and (3) construct a well-designed, high performance building that is energy efficient, secure, comfortable, and cost effective to operate.
How will the program work?
The 60 apartment units are available to adult men and women with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI). Forty of the units will be set aside for formerly homeless, disabled residents. Each resident will pay rent equivalent to 30 percent of their income, which includes income from employment, social security, disability and related benefit programs. Residents may live in their apartment as long as they pay their rent, abide by their lease agreement, and adhere to the FCHA Good Neighbor guidelines. Residents will be held accountable for the behavior of their guests and visitors. Case management services and clinical support services will be made available to all residents.
What services will residents receive?
Our case managers, along with supportive services staff from partner agencies, will be available to all residents. Our 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, personal finance, or cooking) to the complex (accessing treatment for mental health issues or substance abuse, applying for a job, or obtaining healthcare benefits). FCHA is also working to secure on-site services for veterans, provided by the Veteran’s Administration (VA).
How will residents be selected?
Resident screening includes a criminal background check as well as an intake interview to ensure permanent supportive housing is an appropriate choice for both the applicant and the PSH program. Case managers will do a careful and thorough evaluation of each applicant’s background to provide some assurance that the resident can be successful in the program and can be a good neighbor. At a minimum, residents must earn at or below 50 percent of the area median household income (maximum $27,200 annually for a single person household). Forty of the sixty units will be occupied by formerly homeless individuals who have a documented disabling condition.
Because this program is funded, in part, by HUD, residents must also be U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants. Sex offenders and individuals with methamphetamine convictions are ineligible. Click here to read more regarding our resident selection criteria for this project.
Will this project attract more homeless people to Fort Collins?
Recent data from a Homeward 2020 study found that 67% of the homeless in Fort Collins were local residents who first became homeless in Larimer County. The remaining 33% come to Fort Collins for many of the same reasons people from all over the world move here for: economic and/or educational opportunity, city amenities, mountains and other natural beauty.
In order to be eligible for housing at Redtail Ponds, a qualified individual must meet the required selection criteria.
Why was this site selected?
Based on the expert advice of the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Toolkit for Site Selection, FCHA formed a broad-based Site Selection Team to develop specific criteria for locating a site for this supportive housing project in Fort Collins. Over several months, the Team developed a specific list of criteria, crafted a Vision Statement, and conducted a triple bottom line analysis on sites that most clearly met the criteria. The Site Selection Team determined the ideal location would need to have access to transit, jobs, and recreation, with potential for being integrated into the community.
The Redtail Ponds Site was first considered due to its proximity to the future Mason Corridor, and it meets nearly all of the site selection criteria. The site has the right zoning, it is appropriately priced, there was a willing seller, it has great access to bicycle, pedestrian, and transit services, and it is close to Touchstone Health Partners’ vocational services clubhouse, Spirit Crossing.
Were other sites considered?
Yes. Numerous other sites were evaluated but either did not sufficiently meet the site selection criteria or were deemed ineligible because they did not have the appropriate zoning, accessibility, or were not available at an appropriate price.
How does the proposed use fit into the neighborhood?
The development’s multi-family use is appropriate and compatible with the adjacent office and commercial uses. The site is otherwise bounded by the railroad to the west and Redtail Natural Area to the south. The General Commercial District is intended to be a setting for development, redevelopment and infill of a wide range of community and regional retail uses, offices and personal and business services. Secondarily, it can accommodate a wide range of other uses including creative forms of housing. The proposed project is in compliance with the City’s General Commercial zoning requirements, as well as with the goals and objectives of the Fort Collins Affordable Housing Strategic Action Plan.
In recognition of the numerous community benefits of a mixed-use development, FCHA is designing a flex space into the project. The hope is that this space will become the home of a social enterprise program that will train and employ residents of Redtail Ponds.
How will the building be secured?
Security is a key factor in our desire for this program to provide stable, safe housing and living environments free from discrimination. Recent studies found almost 30% of Fort Collins homeless persons have been victimized while on the streets, and FCHA is committed to providing the security of safe living for our residents. We believe that security begins with careful resident screening and selection, as well as with setting clear expectations regarding resident behavior. FCHA’s leasing staff will enforce resident compliance with the lease and community rules agreement. Case managers will provide oversight during normal business hours, and a property management presence will be on-site 24/7. Building access will be restricted to residents and staff. Guest visits will be carefully monitored and must be in accordance with lease requirements regarding visitation. Back to the top.
What will this project cost?
The project’s development and construction is anticipated to cost approximately $9 million. Cities across the country have repeatedly found that permanent supportive housing is a cost effective solution to addressing homelessness. A recent study by the Denver Housing First Collaborative shows that permanent supportive housing in Denver reduced the emergency-related costs (emergency room care, detox services, incarceration, etc.) borne by the community by 73 percent annually, or approximately $30,000 per homeless person served. More information about the cost effectiveness of supportive housing can be found at the Corporation for Supportive Housing website.
Additionally, 1/3 of the project will serve persons who are not homeless and will serve to address the shortage of affordable 1 BR apartments in our community, particularly those that are affordable to persons earning below 50% AMI.
How will this project be funded?
Funding for the project’s development and construction will be provided primarily by Low Income Housing Tax Credits. A combination of other funds such as HOME and Community Development Block Grant dollars (federal funds allocated by the City of Fort Collins and the Colorado Division of Housing), McKinney-Vento funds (federal funding for homeless housing development and operations), grants from philanthropic foundations and community donations will also be used. Rent paid by the residents, federal housing vouchers, and grant funds will support operations. If you would like to donate to this cause, please contact FCHA.
Does FCHA have experience providing housing and services to people who have experienced homelessness?
Yes. For nearly two decades, FCHA has operated our Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program, providing 42 units of permanent housing to formerly homelessness individuals in Fort Collins and with limited case management and supportive services.
Additionally, in 2008, the Community Dual Diagnosis Team (CDDT) program developed out of the Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Partnership. Made possible by City of Fort Collins HOME funds, CDDT is a scattered site tenant based rental assistance program, offered by FCHA in conjunction with Mental Health Connections, Touchstone Health Partners and Larimer County Corrections to provide housing and intensive case management and therapeutic services to persons with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.The program is fashioned after a national best practices model that has been effective in reducing hospitalizations, alcohol and substance use, arrests and incarcerations.
Finally, FCHA’s architectural partner on the project, Studio Completiva, is an award winning, Denver-based boutique architectural firm specializing in affordable, multi-residential projects for a diversity of populations and has completed over 600 affordable multi-residential units in Colorado; another 450 units are in the design process.
Will this project get panhandlers off the streets in Fort Collins?
Not all panhandlers are homeless, but those who engage in such activities often have real difficulties earning an income due to chronic health problems, a physical and/or mental disability, and other barriers to employment. No one can reasonably assert that the number of panhandlers in Fort Collins will decline once this project is built; however, it is certain that residents of Redtail Ponds will not be reliant on panhandling for their survival. With the support of case managers, residents will be able to access basic services such as food and clothing. Case managers will also help resident’s access benefits such as Social Security or disability payments, providing a minimal, but vital source of income that can help to increase self-reliance. Panhandling by Redtail Ponds residents will not be condoned.
Will this project drive down property values?
Property values are based on a myriad of factors, so it’s difficult to quantify the impact this project will have on south Fort Collins homes and businesses. Redtail Ponds will be an attractive building that adds value to the neighborhood through good design and exceptional property management. The vast majority of research regarding affordable housing demonstrates that supportive housing developments have neutral or positive impacts on property values, particularly if the housing development is in a mixed-income or higher income neighborhood. For more information on this question, please refer to this article from The Center for Housing Policy Research.
Is it realistic to think this project will end homelessness?
This project won’t, singlehandedly, end homelessness in Fort Collins. However, it will take 40-45 homeless individuals, about 25% of Fort Collins’ estimated chronically homeless population, off the streets in perpetuity. Additionally, by providing 20 new apartments affordable to households earning up to 50% of the Area Median Income, FCHA will aid in preventing homelessness for 20 households that are very low income and at risk of becoming homeless.
ve building that adds value to the neighborhood through good design and exceptional property management. The vast majority of research regarding affordable housing demonstrates that supportive housing developments have neutral or positive impacts on property values, particularly if the housing development is in a mixed-income or higher income neighborhood. For more information on this question, please refer to this article from The Center for Housing Policy Research.
Where can I get more information about Fort Collins’s homeless population and plans to address it?
The 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Fort Collins was completed in 2010, and revised in August, 2011. It sets forth eight goals to address all facets of homelessness through a more cost-efficient, effective and coordinated service delivery system along with increasing housing options available in the community. Work is ongoing with various agencies to identify trends and needs among the homeless population so that we may provide the services needed.
How can I get involved in helping to end homelessness in Fort Collins?
Donate: If you want to have a lasting impact on the lives of homeless people, consider making a tax deductible donation to FCHA. Many employers offer matching gift programs, so be sure to ask your employer about this option. Or, please consider making an estate gift to further this cause.
Participate: Throughout the year, local partner organizations host charitable events to support their programs and activities. Look for opportunities to participate in fundraising and awareness events, such as a golf tournament or silent auction.
Who do I contact for information about homeless services?
The Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope (Murphy Center), is a local resource center for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and provides a variety of services to the community through partnerships with key agencies. Contact the Murphy Center at 970.494.9940 or http://murphycenterforhope.org.
Additionally, the United Way of Larimer County, via 211, maintains an extensive database of local resources for community members in need. Access 211 by dialing 2-1-1, or visit their webpage: http://uwaylc.org/get-help.
This project won’t, singlehandedly, end homelessness in Fort Collins. However, it will take 40-45 homeless individuals, about 25% of Fort Collins’ estimated chronically homeless population, off the streets in perpetuity.