In a press release dated Dec. 24 of last year, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) cited a point-in-time survey in which it was found that there are over 500 homeless veterans of the United States military.
To help combat the issue, CDHS and others broke ground on the Veterans Renaissance Apartments at Fitzsimons in Aurora. The apartments will serve homeless veterans, and they will be built on the Anschutz campus alongside the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons, according to the release.
“You don’t have to go very far from here, or any corner of the Denver area to see homelessness visible on our streets,” said John Parvensky at the groundbreaking for the Veterans Renaissance Apartments. Parvensky is the CEO and president of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “Clearly having anyone living on the streets, not having a safe place to call home, is a tragedy. But for those who have served our country, to allow them to remain on the streets is clearly unacceptable.”
The Fitzsimons Army Medical Center has served the U.S. military for over 100 years, and it first opened up in World War 1 in 1918. Among those who used its services was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who had a heart attack while visiting Denver in 1955. Over last summer, the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center opened. The Veterans Renaissance Apartments will be able to house 60 veterans. The complex will hold 56 one-bedroom apartments and four others with two bedrooms. Family members of some veterans are expected to live in the complex as well, and veterans will be offered counseling. Inside of the complex includes a gym, computer lab, a medical exam room and other things. The Veterans Renaissance Apartments will charge its residents no more than 30 percent of their income.
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless plans to work closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help serve those who will live at The Veterans Renaissance Apartments. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will decide who gets an apartment based on length of time without a home, and other factors like physical and mental conditions.
Among those who spoke at the groundbreaking were Se. Larry Crowder and Irv Halter, who is the outgoing executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a retired Air Force Major General. Retired Army Lt. Col. Aaron Termain operates CDHS’s Veterans Community Living Centers, and he conducted the groundbreaking ceremony.
Former Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan made a push for the apartment complex to be built. Hogan died last May at the age of 69 from cancer.
Construction on the Veterans Renaissance Apartment project is expected to be completed by early 2020. The hopes are that the apartment complex will help get veterans back in the workforce and help other veterans who struggle.