Steamboat Springs Friends of Horizons Specialized Services were in a mood to celebrate at City Cafe on Tuesday night as they gathered to acknowledge a $1.27 million federal grant that will allow Horizons to move forward with plans to build eight new apartments in an independent living project in the 400 block of Eighth Street in Steamboat Springs.
Horizons provides support for people with developmental disabilities in Routt and Moffat counties.
“This is enormous for higher-functioning clients,” Horizons board of directors President Bob Grover said. “We’ll have seven new apartments for our clients where they can live securely in their own apartments but also enjoy a day room and a community kitchen.”
Horizons staff members will occupy the eighth apartment and provide support for the residents 24 hours per day.
However, Horizons Executive Director Sue Mizen said the future residents of the new project along Soda Creek will be able to take advantage of the close proximity of downtown Steamboat on their own.
“They will be able to walk downtown and go to the movies or catch a bus,” Mizen said. “This provides transitional housing we don’t currently have for people who are almost ready for an apartment of their own. Or in some cases, it might be ideal for an older person who needs a little more support but isn’t ready to go to a group home.”
Horizons is one of two Colorado communities awarded grants this month from the Department of Housing and Urban Development through a program intended to help very low-income people with disabilities find secure housing.
“This is the first time since the early 1980s we’ve built anything new, so this is a big deal for us,” Mizen said.
The terms of the HUD loan require that the new apartments to be made available to adults with developmental disabilities for at least 40 years. Horizons will seek an estimated $400,000 through foundation grants from outside Routt County to complete the project, which could start within 18 months and be completed by early 2014.
The seven future residents will pay 30 percent of their income for rent, and the federal government will pay the rest. Ongoing maintenance will be covered by HUD’s rental assistance subsidies and client rent, which allows Horizons to pay for clients’ living expenses and staff salaries while reserving the proceeds of its dedicated county mill levy for broader client services, Mizen said.
There also are HUD requirements that green building practices be used in the new apartments, said architect Jan Kaminski, of Mountain Architecture Design Group. He designed the project to resemble twin bungalows from the Eighth Street elevation.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com