DHS Awards Contract to Nonprofit Developer The Kelsey

Credit: Inclusive Housing Denver

The Denver Human Services (DHS) Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Equitable Access to Services (IDDEAS) Program has awarded a contract to The Kelsey, a nonprofit developer, educator, and advocate for housing for people with disabilities. The Kelsey is surveying to identify landlord and builder concerns with renting and creating housing accessible to the I/DD community.

The findings will be used to develop an outreach plan for engaging with landlords and builders to ensure equitable access to affordable, accessible and inclusive housing for people with I/DD.

Denver’s affordable housing crisis is impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) especially hard. According to Denver’s Inclusive Housing Report, it’s incredibly difficult for people with I/DD to find housing that is affordable, built with accessible features and run by a property manager willing to meet their needs. Many people with I/DD are experiencing homelessness as a result.  

The IDDEAS Advisory Council (IAC), an appointed group of Denver residents — some with lived experience of I/DD, some with loved ones with I/DD, and some who are service professionals in the field — made recommendations in 2021 to address these growing housing concerns. This assessment by the Kelsey addresses one of their recommendations, and will be critical in solving the problems people with I/DD face in today’s housing market.

“Because of their lived experience, our advisory council members have intimate and important insights into which programs and services are needed most by our I/DD community,” said Michaela Hennig, IDDEAS program manager. “We know affordable housing is a priority citywide, but it is more urgent for residents with I/DD as they are at high risk of displacement or homelessness.”

Along with funding this assessment, the IDDEAS Program has funded other efforts to connect people with I/DD to accessible housing. Last spring, IDDEAS contracted with Bayaud Enterprises to develop and implement a housing navigation program for Denver residents with I/DD. The program supports residents in understanding, planning, and pursuing housing options, including providing intensive services for people experiencing homelessness, residents who seek more inclusive and stable housing, and/or residents navigating aging caregiver concerns.

Additionally, IDDEAS collaborates with Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) to provide housing stability assistance such as rent and mortgage help to residents with I/DD at risk of eviction or displacement. In the second half of 2023 alone, RMHS distributed more than $300,000 of IDDEAS funds to residents seeking this support.

Through the landlord and builder assessment, The Kelsey is engaging with Denver landlords and property managers, developers, builders, service providers and residents with I/DD and their families to learn about current perspectives, efforts, and best practices related to inclusive and accessible housing. They will collect and present data on the key barriers and challenges, including possible stigmas, to building housing and renting housing to people with I/DD.

The Kelsey aims to capture unique and diverse perspectives from different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, people with limited English proficiency, and people from communities who are at risk of gentrification or displacement. Additionally, they will collect landlord and builder perspectives from diverse properties, including market-rate and affordable developments.

The work will be guided by a steering committee to develop the methodology, recruit research participants, review ongoing data collection, and provide consultation. The final report, expected in June, will help inform future funding opportunities that promote inclusive housing, such as landlord or builder incentives or education efforts.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top