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Boulder-area Businesses Partner on Supportive Housing Project

BOULDER – Gardner Capital, a St. Louis-based family-owned private equity firm specializing in affordable housing and solar development, will partner with First United Methodist Church of Boulder and Attention Homes — a Boulder-based non-profit organization that provides life-changing resources to youth in crisis — to develop Attention Homes Apartments in Boulder, furthering the company’s commitment to improving peoples’ lives and well-being through the provision of quality, affordable housing.

Construction and architectural services are being provided by Deneuve Construction Services and Studio Architecture, local Boulder-area businesses. Construction has begun and the development is expected to be complete in late Spring, 2019. An official Groundbreaking event will be held Feb 21st at 11 a.m. in Boulder.

Attention Homes Apartments will be Gardner Capital’s most recent housing development with a tenant preference for homeless youth, ages 18 to 24. For Attention Homes, the project will expand a continuum of care targeting youth and young adults experiencing homelessness with housing and on-site supportive services. In 2017 alone, between its emergency shelter, day drop-in center, street outreach, and residential care program, Attention Homes served 500 individuals aged 12 to 25 years.

“Attention Homes Apartments is a special project in our portfolio – it uniquely fits our mission of improving peoples’ lives, and it provides a solution to the serious challenges of homelessness. The partnership with Attention Homes will ensure that the tenants have all the resources and amenities they need to find more permanent stability, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Attention Homes,” said Michael Gardner, president & CEO, Gardner Capital.

Courtyard-WatercolorRoughly half of homeless adults in the United States were homeless as they transitioned from adolescence to adulthood. In cities like Boulder, where huge challenges exist to meet the demand for affordable housing, youth face additional barriers.

“For the last few years, it’s been challenging to secure an adequate number of stable housing options for high risk youth who lack a safety net and require more time to heal and thrive” says Claire Clurman, executive director at Attention Homes. “As an agency, we know that for many of our clients, a network of support and sense of belonging is crucial to their long-term well-being. With the high cost of living, minimum wage jobs and trauma histories, our clients need more than the 30 to 60 days an emergency shelter can provide in order to stabilize.”

In addition to the 40 apartments — 26 studios, 13 one-bedrooms, and one two-bedroom — the Attention Homes Apartment complex will include administrative offices for the non-profit, community space, an enclosed courtyard, and a grab-and-go cafe that will provide job skill training for tenants and local community benefit.

“What’s been unique about this project is the coming together of our various partners for a shared purpose,” says Clurman. “First United Methodist Church was a founding partner of Attention Homes back in 1966 and today they’ve leased a portion of their land for this project; Gardner Capital specializes in affordable housing, and we’re allowed to do what we do best which is to provide services. In addition, seven historic buildings on this block were landmarked by the Church, furthering the project’s overall community benefit. First United Methodist has been extraordinary in their efforts to make this project happen.”

Largely based on a Housing First model, Attention Homes Apartments will provide housing as well as on-site resources such as case management, job training and employment assistance, access to education, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and family reunification coaching.

Capital One Community Finance provided a $10 million construction loan and $8.8 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit investment syndicated by National Equity Fund. Additional funding support for the development comes from permanent financing provided by Colorado Housing & Finance Authority, City of Boulder Division of Housing, Boulder County Worthy Cause funds, Colorado Division of Housing, private contributions and other housing-specific funding.

“We were excited to have a role in the development of Attention Homes Apartments,” said David Musial, a senior vice president at Capital One Community Finance who arranged the bank’s portion of the financing. “We recognize that housing is only one component required to address the crisis of homelessness in our country’s communities. Developments like Attention Homes that leave in place a suite of additional services, have the ability to give their residents a leg up.”

Attention Homes selected a central location in the Boulder community in order to ensure youth have access to transportation, school, and job opportunities. But making sure that tenants feel connected to the area will be essential to the program’s success. This means not only evaluating prospective residents based on their vulnerability but assessing their interest in making Boulder and northern Colorado home.

“With young people, we have a chance to change the trajectory of their lives,” says Clurman. “This project is an upstream solution to chronic adult homelessness.”

Renderings courtesy of Attention Homes.

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