Church in the City gets a New Home

Church in the City gets a New Home In August 2008, MHCLF made a loan to Church in the City to aid with the acquisition and renovation of the historic and vacant BMH Synagogue and the adjacent school building located on 16th Avenue and Gaylord Street. These buildings are now the new permanent home for the congregation that has become an important service provider for the local community. This project, unique in many ways, was initiated when the St. Charles Town Company secured a contract for the redevelopment of the former Safeway site just off Colfax Avenue on York Street, where Church in the City leased space. The church and St. Charles Town Co. worked closely on relocation options that led to the acquisition and renovation of the BMH Synagogue property. “This whole building was being destroyed,” said Pastor Michael Walker. “It was going to fall apart if someone didn’t come in and save it.” Both the congregation and the community rallied to help bring the long vacant building back to life. Volunteers worked tirelessly to help restore the historical building to its former glory, including new stained glass windows that are were remade and painted by congregation members. But this project is about more than getting a church into a new home – it allows Church in the City to expand its services and recognizes its importance as a vital asset to the area. “We’ve been a part of this neighborhood for 18 years,” said Pastor Walker. “Staying here allows us to expand our community outreach services to the youth, homeless and the poor.” Church in the City is one of the most economically and ethnically diverse congregations in the state. In addition to numerous worship services, the church opens its doors seven days a week offering various programs designed for youth, low-income, and developmentally challenged individuals and families. Restoration was not limited to the sanctuary – a commercial kitchen and community dining area was added on the lower level that more than doubles their capacity for serving free meals to more than 200 people, most on whom are homeless. The church also added a large computer lab and several counseling and meeting rooms, increasing the number of groups and programs that can meet at the same time. Other sources of funding for this project included $1.8 million in contributions and grants, and a $2.85 million loan from Key Bank. “All are welcome,” said Walker. “This is a place for all people of all...

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Expanding Capacity to Serve the Homeless

Expanding Capacity to Serve the Homeless Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) is an organization who’s programs, services, projects, and advocacy are 100% focused on the needs of often-overlooked homeless individuals and families throughout Colorado. CCH has been successful in garnishing the resources needed for all its programs, however, developing the facilities needed to maintain a comfortable work environment for its other important resource – personnel – had fallen behind schedule. In order to relieve overcrowding and expand capacity for its client services and back office staff, CCH applied for and was given a $720,000 loan for the acquisition of additional office space at 2101 Champa Street in Denver, a building located next door to its current offices. With a strong track record in both the community and with MHCLF, the Fund was pleased to make their fourth loan to CCH. Securing a location in the core downtown area was vital for CCH so they could continue to provide adequate services to the homeless community. “We are in an area that is starting to rapidly gentrify,” said Dave Klimut, Director of Housing Development for CCH. “This is a strategic move for us as it allows us to stay in the same neighborhood and help those in...

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ACCESS Housing/Holly Gardens

MHCLF’s $691,000 loan to ACCESS Housing supports the organization’s  efforts to convert eight, two-bedroom condominiums into rental housing for homeless and very low-income Adams County families.  Structured as a bridge loan to committed Division of Housing and Adams County Home funds, a portion of the financing will be converted into a $260,000 mini-perm loan upon completion of renovations.  The mini-perm will have a seven-year term and a 20 year amortization. The four building property was acquired by ACCESS Housing in 2011 after sitting vacant and vandalized for two years.  Located at 71st Avenue and Holly Street in Commerce City, the property has good access to public transportation and employment opportunities.  Renovations will include extensive exterior and interior improvements including Energy Star rated windows, hot water heaters and appliances.  New properly sized, single stage 90% efficiency natural gas forced air furnaces, floor coverings and plumbing fixtures will be installed. The project will increase the number of units managed by ACCESS to 35 and support their mission to help families regain their independence, achieve self-sufficiency and sustain permanent housing.  ACCESS has been providing shelter, food and clothing to families in need since 1983 with their Family Shelter, Home Again Family Support and Steps 2 Success programs. For more information about ACCESS Housing visit their website:...

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Preserving History, Creating Affordability

Preserving History, Creating Affordability In January 2007, Thistle Community Housing, with a nearly 20 year commitment to end the growing displacement of residents who can no longer afford to live in Boulder County, purchased The Cannery with a $1,420,000 acquisition and bridge loan from MHCLF with participation from Funding Partners. The main building, the historical Empson pea cannery, was built in the early 1900s and converted into apartments in 1984. Two additional apartment buildings were constructed on the property the same year. The conversion created a campus of 94 unique apartments located only a few blocks from Longmont’s original downtown area. In purchasing The Cannery Thistle took a beautiful and uniquely designed property and made it permanently affordable. The apartment complex offers 10 units at 60% AMI, 79 units at 50% AMI, and 5 units at 30% AMI. “Boulder County is a high-income county,” said Sarah Batt, Financing Project Manager. “Any affordable housing that can be preserved and/or built in this community is very...

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A Permanent Home, with Room to Grow

A Permanent Home, with Room to Grow After moving every two years for the past six years, Sisters of Color United for Education (SCUE) was looking for a permanent place to house their 20-year-old health education and advocacy organization. SCUE was born out of the grassroots efforts of two Latinas, Belinda Garcia and Bernadette Berzoza, who were frustrated with the lack of proactive health services for women in the Latino community. They knew there were numerous free and inexpensive health service and education sources for women to learn about reproductive health and other health issues facing their families, but these resources were not reaching their community. With the help of a $275,000 mini-perm loan from MHCLF, SCUE purchased a building located at 2895 W. 8th Avenue to house their offices and programs. SCUE also received a $250,000 grant from Denver Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development for the purpose of building acquisition. “It was so important for Sisters to be able to purchase this building,” said Mary Loring, development specialist for the organization. “Not only does it accommodate our staff with room to grow, but the location is ideal as it is central to our participant demographic.” The 9,100 square foot building is not only surrounded by predominately Latino neighborhoods, but is also located near excellent public transportation access, which ensures SCUE’s vision to offer Latinas and their families a safe and supportive environment in which to address sensitive health issues reflecting traditional Latino cultural values. Keeping the emphasis on building trusting relationships and recognizing the impact of intergenerational familial relationships within the context of treatment, SCUE offers many services to the community. In addition to health services, SCUE works with youth in the neighborhood. A number of those youth have designed and painted murals that show how they see the world around them. The murals are both inside and outside of the new building. Now with a permanent home, SCUE’s impact continues to grow as they reach out to and help more than 2,500 people every...

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Moving Into the Mountains

Moving Into the Mountains Since 1994 Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity, the Habitat affiliate serving the mountain communities of Jefferson County, has, with the help of more than 500 volunteers, completed 21 homes for people who live, work, have children in schools and are a vital part of the mountain communities. “There is a need for housing for people who live here, work here and support the community,” said Kathleen O’Leary, executive director for Blue Spruce. “These homes are an important part of the mountain community as there are no other organizations currently building affordable housing in this area. “ In July 2007, Blue Spruce needed short-term financing to keep the construction of a duplex in Kittredge, Colorado on schedule. The quick processing and favorable terms available through MHCLF had previously caught the attention of a Blue Spruce Board member. Blue Spruce approached MHCLF and was given a $150,000 construction loan. The homes were completed in December 2007 with the families moving in right before the holidays. A true community project, the lot on which the duplex sits was bought with a $20,000 grant from the Colorado Division of Housing and is the first of 14 additional lots in the area assembled for Blue Spruce housing projects. Funds and in-kind donations for this project were also made available from more than 17 private contributors and community organizations including Jefferson County Community Development, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Daniels Fund, and Colorado Association of Realtors Housing Opportunity...

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