Upon its completion in 2024, the Sunset Permanent Supportive Housing project will add 55 one-bedroom units to Longmont’s affordable housing stock, which local officials say are desperately needed.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Longmont Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, which consists of the Longmont City Council, received an update on the status of the project that aims to provide stable housing for people who have experienced  homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as housing for which an occupant pays “no more than 30 percent” of their gross income on housing costs, including utilities.

The forthcoming apartment building’s architecture incorporates trauma-informed design principles that promote resident safety and privacy while still allowing staff members to monitor any undesirable behavior.

The design principles include private reading areas, enhanced sightlines, soundproof offices for case management, a laundry room on the first floor and easy accessibility to exits and entryways.

“This is our first (property) that’s specifically being designed with trauma-informed principles,” Molly O’Donnell, Longmont housing and community investment division director, said in a separate interview Tuesday. “People that have experienced trauma, sometimes they do want safe, enclosed spaces; sometimes they want open spaces … that’s really what they’re trying to provide.”

It isn’t immediately clear what the new apartment building will be named, as local officials did not like the original idea of calling it “Bluebird Longmont.”

The four-story apartment building will be located on the same property as The Suites Apartments at 2000 Sunset Way.

Element Properties, a real estate development and investment company based out of Boulder, is developing the affordable housing project, and the Housing Authority will manage it upon its completion.

A representative with Element Properties was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

“It looks great, and I really appreciate the thought and care going into the design for people with trauma,” Councilwoman Susie Hidalgo-Fahring said during Tuesday’s meeting. “I’m glad that you’ve all thought of that.”

Meth damage

In addition to discussing the forthcoming Sunset Permanent Supportive Housing project, commissioners also received an update on ongoing challenges with substance abuse among some residents.

Two units at The Suites, one in the Aspen Meadows Neighborhood and another at Aspen Meadows Senior Apartments were still listed as down and uninhabitable due to methamphetamine damage, according to the Housing Authority’s most up-to-date occupancy report.

A unit at Spring Creek Apartments, which was previously contaminated with methamphetamine, has since been cleaned and re-leased as of July 11, the report stated.

In particularly egregious cases, meth-contaminated units can cost over $100,000 to repair and make livable again.

The Housing Authority does not test every unit for methamphetamine contamination but rather only when it has a reasonable suspicion to do so, such as a resident being arrested for possession of meth.

The Housing Authority manages 462 units across nine properties and during the month of June had a 95% total occupancy rate.

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Matthew Bennett
2022-08-03 04:09:58
Boulder Daily Camera

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