After beating the federal government in court last fall, a local homeless coalition has submitted an application to take ownership of a 59-acre parcel near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood.
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless won the court battle in late September after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared a 59-acre Lakewood parcel near the Denver Federal Center suitable for use by the homeless.
On Tuesday, the coalition filed the ownership application with the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Lakewood Sentinel. Now, the clock starts ticking, with HHS allowed 10 days to review the application; if approved, the homeless coalition has 45 days to submit a full plan, the paper reports.
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. 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.
The Lakewood Sentinel noted while plans are still being crafted, the homeless coalition is considering temporary homeless housing options on the site, which could include FEMA-style trailers. Furthemore, the coalition is eyeying 500 to 600 permanent affordable housing units on the site sometime down the road.
Some Lakewood officials like Councilwoman Ramey Johnson are concerned about the coalition’s plans for the site.
“Because of all the build-out we’ve seen in the city, it would’ve been nice if it could’ve been turned into a park or open space,” the Sentinel wrote quoting Councilmember Ramey Johnson. “Whatever it becomes, it needs to be something everyone has buy in on.”