John Parvensky, president and CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, speaks during a press conference on Jan. 21 to announce the opening of Fusion Studios, a new affordable housing development for Denver residents experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

Sixty units of supportive housing in Aurora for veterans and their immediate families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness will be unveiled Friday in a virtual event hosted by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and featuring Gov. Jared Polis. 

The housing complex, to be named the Renaissance Veterans Apartments at Fitzsimons, is located at 1753 North Quentin St. 

Other speakers scheduled to appear at the noon event are Democratic U.S. Rep. Jason Crow of Aurora; John Parvensky, CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Michael Kilmer, director of VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System; and CCH board members T.R. Reid and Leanne Wheeler.

Partners involved in the effort include Alliance Construction, Bank of the West, the City of Aurora, Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Colorado General Assembly, Colorado Housing Finance Authority, Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, Fitzsimons, Redevelopment Authority, Home Depot Foundation, Mercy Loan Fund, National Affordable, Housing Trust, Studio Completiva and Veterans Administration.

This past January, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless led an effort to convert a former Quality Inn & Suites into a 139 micro-apartment complex, called Fusion Studios, for individuals and couples experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

The move-in ready apartments provide transitional and long-term housing and require residents to pay no more than 30% of their monthly income in rent.

“This really shows what we can do when we get creative about problem-solving and affordable housing,” Polis said after touring the facility, which he called an “example of cutting through the red tape … at a teeny fraction of the cost of building something new and a teeny fraction of the time.”

Normally it takes two to three years to create a housing unit, start to finish, said Parvensky, who has headed CCH since 1985. But Fusion Studios only took six months to revamp, marking the quickest affordable housing option he said has ever been established in Denver.

“Our goal is to create a continuum of interventions to quickly match those in crisis with the resources they need … to get on their own feet,” he said in late January. “Fusion Studios fills a critical need in this continuum to help our friends and our neighbors be able to support themselves with dignity and afford to live in our thriving Denver metro area.”

Still, the new affordable housing development is but a step in solving the city’s homeless problem, he and other leaders said.

“We’re not finished yet,” Parvensky pledged. “There is still much work to be done.”

According to the latest Point-in-Time snapshot taken in January, months before the pandemic exacerbated the homeless crisis, there were at least 6,104 people without housing in metro Denver. Of them, 627 people identified as veterans. 

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