Our View: Persistence pays off
November 26, 2011
Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude and appreciation — messages that no doubt are being said this week by the friends and families of Steamboat Springs adults with developmental disabilities.
That's because Horizons Specialized Services, the 35-year-old nonprofit organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities throughout Northwest Colorado, scored yet another impressive feat that will result in improved living circumstances and quality of life for some of its current and future residential clients.
Steamboat Springs-based Horizons recently was awarded a $1.27 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development through a program designed to help very low-income people with disabilities find secure housing. Horizons was one of only two Colorado entities to receive the grant.
Much good will come to Steamboat Springs through Horizons' persistence — it was the organization's third attempt at the HUD grant in the past four years. As a result, Horizons will build eight new apartments as part of an independent living complex on property it owns on Eighth Street near Soda Creek Elementary School. Seven of the apartments will be occupied by Horizons clients; the eighth will serve as a home for Horizons staff members who will provide 24-hour support for the other residents.
The apartments are for higher-functioning Horizons clients who may be readying for a move to an apartment of their own. Or they could serve as transitional housing for a client who needs support but isn't ready to move into a group home, Horizons Executive Director Sue Mizen said.
Regardless, the attractive new apartments are a smart way of creating additional independent living units with on-site staff. That it can be accomplished primarily with federal grant funds that will allow Horizons to continue to dedicate revenues from its county mill levy to broader client services is significant.
County voters here expressed strong support for Horizons when they passed a property tax for the organization in 2005. The awarding of a $1.27 million HUD grant demonstrates that Horizons continues to be a forward-thinking and aggressive advocate for our developmentally disabled friends, family and neighbors.