Judge shelves Colorado Coalition for the Homeless project proposal

Coalition wanted to turn land near the Fed Center into homeless assistance

Posted 7/16/19

The proposed Colorado Coalition for the Homeless project to develop 59 acres of land near the Federal Center in Lakewood into a facility to assist homeless people was swatted down by U.S. District …

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Judge shelves Colorado Coalition for the Homeless project proposal

Coalition wanted to turn land near the Fed Center into homeless assistance

Posted

The proposed Colorado Coalition for the Homeless project to develop 59 acres of land near the Federal Center in Lakewood into a facility to assist homeless people was swatted down by U.S. District Judge William Martinez on July 1.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied sale of the land to the coalition, located south of West Sixth Avenue and east of Union Boulevard — a move Martinez backed in his July 1 ruling.

Cathy Alderman, a spokesperson for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, said the organization has no plans to appeal the ruling and that it did as much advocacy as it could for the homeless project.

“We are very disappointed in the ruling because it means hundreds of families and individuals in the Lakewood area are no closer to accessing safe shelter space or affordable housing and the numbers of people experiencing homelessness will continue to rise,” said Alderman in an email.

Due to the Mckinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a law that requires federal agencies to identify and make federal property available to local governments, states and nonprofits to aid homeless people, the coalition had the first shot at purchasing the land.

But last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied the coalition’s $120 million project, saying it had not explained thoroughly enough how it would finance it. Martinez agreed with the department’s decision last year.

“(The court) finds that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not act arbitrarily, capriciously, or contrary to law when it denied the coalition’s application,” Martinez wrote in his ruling.

Richard Stebbins, public affairs officer of the U.S. General Services Administration, the agency that carried out the process of auctioning the land, said the area will be up for grabs again — but he doesn’t know when.

“We’re just trying to work out the mechanics of it so that it’s fair for everybody,” said Stebbins.

According to Stacie Oulton, a spokesperson for Lakewood, the land is zoned for urban-scale mixed use, meaning that office and residential uses up to 12 stories high can be placed in the area.

Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul said the city had previously had a plan to use the land for a mix used, residential-type center, but it got scrubbed.

“(The coalition’s proposed project is) kind of an old fashion plan of putting all people of one type in that area. We want to help the homeless, but this project as planned is not the right plan for our community, and it’s not the right plan to help the homeless,” said Paul.

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