Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) will start large-scale renovations of six public housing properties next week, as part of an ambitious effort to preserve existing affordable housing throughout the city.
“Project Renovate is our top priority for 2015 and 2016,” said Betsey Martens, executive director of BHP. “We’ll preserve housing opportunities for our most economically vulnerable citizens while creating more opportunities for residents to gain in self-sufficiency.”
BHP is one of a select group of public housing authorities approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to recapitalize its public housing properties. By gaining local control of the properties, BHP can ensure quality affordable housing for Boulder’s most at-risk citizens in perpetuity.
Work is poised to begin on 279 apartments, townhomes and single family homes at six properties:
All of the properties were built in the 1970s and 1980s. Renovations will include new Energy Star appliances, bathroom and kitchen overhauls, open floorplans, additional storage and new lighting. Exterior work will include new siding, roofs, windows, doors and landscaping. Improvements will meet the Enterprise Green Communities standards and City of Boulder Smart Regulations.
The Diagonal Court, Manhattan and Kalmia properties will have new community centers to provide space for education and training programs for adults and children.
“Our mission is as much about creating opportunity as it is about providing housing,” said Martens. “A wide variety of educational and job training programs are offered in the on-site community centers.” A prime example is the Bringing School Home program, developed 18 years ago with the I Have a Dream Foundation, which has resulted in a 92 percent high school graduation rate among BHP youth, versus a control group graduation rate of 63 percent.
Martens was recently named the first-ever Affordable Housing Institute (AHI) Fellow for her pioneering research into how affordable housing can be a critical link for low income children to catalyze lifelong achievement. The 18-month fellowship will focus on translating the Bringing School Home Program ideas into a national policy agenda.
At a time when the federal government is steadily disinvesting in public housing, BHP wanted to take a bold and innovative approach to preserving its most affordable apartments. This renovation will ensure that these assets remain physically and financially sound so the affordability can be preserved in perpetuity. The public-private partnership could be a model for the future of housing solutions in Boulder.
In the last 12 years, Boulder has lost an average of 471 units of market affordable rental housing each year. If current trends continue, by 2020 Boulder will have no homes affordable to households with annual incomes under $50,000 other than those homes in the city’s permanently affordable program. For these reasons, Boulder Housing Partners updated its strategic plan to help the city course correct and remain consistent with the vision articulated in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.
Visit the Project Renovate page here for more information including the Project Overview, Construction Plans, Site Renderings, Resident Resources, and more!
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