homeless lawsuit settled


root - Posted on 19 February 2002

by Dan Luzader

The Lowry Redevelopment Authority settled a lawsuit Tuesday with Catholic Charities and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless over housing for homeless families.

The agreement will guarantee housing for 70 formerly homeless families at two apartment complexes, while preserving efforts by developers to make existing housing compatible with new construction.

Monty Force, deputy director of the Redevelopment Authority, said the agreement also clears the way for housing construction projects held up by the lawsuit since last October to move forward.

"We're very pleased with the outcome," Force said. "We've been negotiating this for three years."

Catholic Charities and the homeless coalition sued in Denver District Court last year, alleging that the Redevelopment Authority was refusing to comply with requirements for housing for the homeless at the former military base.

A federal law requires that a portion of existing military housing at bases being closed around the country be used to house the homeless.

Force said disagreements arose over preserving low-cost housing at the base during the development of higher priced housing.

The agreement will allow the Coalition and Catholic Charities to place 30 transitional families in an existing housing unit on the former base, where 92 apartment units are now.

The other units at the Blue Spruce complex will be used for affordable housing, and for market rate housing, Force said.

A second facility, yet to be built, will provide 120 apartments, of which 40 units will be reserved, for transitional or formerly homeless families. The Colorado Homeless will hold title to both facilities.

Under the terms of the agreement, Catholic Charities and the homeless coalition can sell their interests in two other existing housing facilities to Lowry for $3.7 million. The two organizations will split that money, Charities officials said.

James Mauck, president of Catholic Charities, said they also were satisfied with the agreement.

"It was important to Catholic Charities to support and advocate for homeless families to have decent and safe housing," Mauck said. "A dispute over rights is always difficult."

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