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Huge, solar-powered campus for the homeless? Advocacy group’s plans for Lakewood site get initial OK

Author: Adam McCoy - February 5, 2018 - Updated: February 5, 2018

(iStock image / monstArrr_)

An advocacy group has been given the initial OK from the federal government for its plan to construct housing and provide services for those experiencing homelessness in Lakewood.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved an initial application from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless late last month, the Lakewood Sentinel reports. CCH noted in the application it will use the 59-acre site near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood to house and provide services for the homeless. Next on the docket, CCH must provide its financing plans for the $120 million project by March 9.

While final plans aren’t yet concrete, a Denverite report noted how CCH hopes to open with low-income housing options on a scale the Denver area hasn’t seen before. The site will start out with some trailers and tents, but could eventually offer some 600 affordable and supportive housing units. The initial build out could include a solar-powered campus, with “trailers, geodesic domes and large, insulated tents on a large tract of federal land.”

The project has sparked a debate in Lakewood, with some neighbors wary, but as the Sentinel notes, the city has no power since the site is federally-owned land.

The U.S. General Services Administration  — the government’s landlord — had planned to sell the land in an auction in July but instead found itself in a federal court, which halted the auction, after the homeless coalition filed a formal objection.

CCH won the court battle in late September after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared the Lakewood land suitable for use by the homeless.

The coalition argued letting the sale proceed as planned effectively would sidestep a 1987 law that requires the agency to make the land available for serving the homeless.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.