Big Changes for Holly Park Apartments
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
Big Changes for Mercy Housing’s Holly Park Apartments
A feature submitted by Housing Colorado Editorial Committee Member, Jennifer Reed
As Mercy Housing enters the second year of a major renovation at Holly Park Apartments, a 168-unit community in Commerce City, the property is nearly unrecognizable. And the changes are not just on the outside. With support from the Strong Families Fund, Mercy Housing has added more services for residents and brought in more community partners. Across the state, almost 3,000 residents, including more than 1,000 children, live in 17 Mercy Housing communities. Mercy Housing is headquartered and Denver and owns 341 properties in 21 states.
Holly Park Apartments was built in 1975 and acquired by Mercy Housing in 1998. Holly Park offers one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments for low-income families. The community is made up of 14 separate buildings, as well as a community center that was built in 2009.
Holly Park East (236 LIHPHRA) and Holly Park West (Post-year 15 tax credit) were sold into one Low Income Housing Tax Credit partnership as part of the Strong Families Fund (National Affordable Housing Trust program). All of the apartments are subsidized Housing Assistance Payment Contract administered through Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. The syndication of the projects will allow for significant renovation to the community including new floors, surfaces, cabinets, bathrooms, mechanical system, electrical, windows, heating system, exteriors, site work, and safety and accessibility upgrades.
Equity financing for the renovation of Holly Park is being provided by the Strong Families Fund (SFF). SFF uses a Pay for Success model to include Resident Service Coordination as a part of the development plan. The SFF is a ten-year initiative of the Kresge Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), The Community Development Trust (CDT), Goldman Sachs, and NAHT. The purpose of SFF is to stimulate and support innovative strategies to design, deliver, and measure the impact of Resident Service Coordination for families.
Over the course of the renovations, Mercy Housing staff and volunteers have worked hard supported residents during the stress of relocation and construction. An additional Resident Services staff member joined the existing team of two this year. With more than 500 individuals (including 300 children) living at Holly Park, increased staffing was greatly needed to provide services and support to families facing many challenges to stability. After the first two years of the SFF grant, funding will continue on a Pay for Success model that will be based upon a common framework of metrics for achieving critical health and wellness, financial stability, education, and employment outcomes.
Last fall Mercy Housing began a partnership with Wish for Wheels. Wish for Wheels brought bicycles and helmets for any Holly Park child who needed a bike. Wish for Wheels provides access to a healthier lifestyle by partnering with businesses to build and distribute bikes to children. Janus Henderson hired Wish for Wheels, and their employees completed a team-building activity to put the bikes together. The employees then distributed 100 bikes and helmets to the kids at Holly Park.
Mercy Housing has also been providing community dinners for temporarily relocated residents while their apartments were renovated. “Welcome back home” baskets have been provided for residents as they moved back into their newly refurbished apartments. All baskets were donated by one of the vendors working on the project, Replumb Specialties, Inc., and volunteers have helped to assemble and distribute the baskets.
Mercy Housing is grateful for the investments made by the Strong Families Fund, NAHT, Goldman Sachs Bank, Wish for Wheels, Replumb Specialties, Inc., and many individuals in our Holly Park community. Their support makes it possible to sustain our work by refurbishing and extending the life of the existing homes for the 500 residents that call Holly Park home.