Feds reject plans for Lakewood homeless campus
Author: Adam McCoy - April 4, 2018 - Updated: April 4, 2018
An advocacy group’s plans for a sprawling Lakewood facility to help house those experiencing homelessness took a blow late last week.
Details are sparse, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rejected the plans after reportedly finding issues with advocacy group Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ (CCH) financing proposal, Westword reports. The advocacy and homeless-services group does plan to appeal.
CCH recently released preliminary plans for the 59-acre site near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, which could include a solar-powered campus with trailers, geodesic domes and tents as an initial build-out, eventually adding some 600 affordable and supportive housing units.
In a statement, CCH said it didn’t receive any guidance from HHS on a “reasonable plan to finance the approved program” so it submitted the best proposal it could craft.
“We are very disappointed by the HHS decision to reject the financing plan for the Federal Center Property, and believe HHS erred in its decision based on the law and the facts,” the group said in a statement. “We will immediately appeal to HHS and if we do not get a positive response, we will likely be going back to court to protect the rights of people experiencing homelessness in Lakewood and Jefferson County.”
Conversely, Lakewood officials are thrilled at the news, the Lakewood Sentinel reports. Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul took to social media to share news of the denial he received from the U.S. General Services Administration, the government’s landlord. The GSA appears poised to launch a new auction for the land April 2, according to its website.
“Its [sic] important to note that the denial of the CCH’s proposal does not deny the fact that we have homeless in our community,” Paul wrote in a Facebook post. “Let’s use this experience to start the conversation of how we come together as neighbors, as a city, as a county to find meaningful solutions to help those in need.”
CCH’s plans for the Lakewood site have vexed Lakewood officials and some residents who argued the advocacy group needs to find a more appropriate setting for its proposed homeless campus, stretch city resources like police thin and that it could attract riff-raff to the city.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared the Lakewood land suitable for use by the homeless after CCH took the federal government to court and won last fall.