News & Insights

A Place To Call Home for Homeless Veterans

The entrance to the Fitzsimons Veterans Apartments with an American Flag raised on a pole

In 2019, 37,085 veterans were experiencing homelessness, with more than 1,060 veterans reported homeless in the state of Colorado alone. The COVID-19 outbreak put these homeless veterans at an even greater risk of contracting the virus with an increased number of close quarter homeless camps in Denver and surrounding areas. Seeking a way to help improve the situation, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) stepped up to find a place in the community where these homeless heroes could go to find shelter. Under the direction of the Governor, the Colorado Department of Human Services brought on Kimley-Horn and other teaming partners to establish a facility for veterans and their immediate family members near the existing Colorado Veterans Home at Fitzsimons.

Kimley-Horn worked closely with Studio Completiva, BrightView, the City of Aurora, and CCH to perform civil engineering, entitlement, utilities, traffic management, permitting, due diligence, and drainage services for the new Renaissance Veterans Apartments at Fitzsimons. The purposeful design of the building aims to promote a stress-free, comfortable living environment that feels like home.

“This project was so special because it creates a physical space that will have a long-lasting, positive impact on our community and an immediate useful impact for our homeless population. Any time you kick off a project, it’s critical to the project’s success that the right partners are engaged from the start. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to partner with Studio Completiva and the entire project team to make the City and CCH’s vision become a reality.”

In addition to providing comfortable, affordable housing, the housing complex offers counseling and case management services to residents to meet the needs of veterans and their immediate families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Accessibility for All Residents

To support veterans with limited abilities, 40% of the rooms meet accessibility standards, while only 5% of dwelling units are required to meet these standards by law. Veterans with specific needs have no trouble finding a room that meets all their personal housing requirements. The focus on accessibility is also made evident by the accessible parking spaces, expanded corridors, natural and efficient lighting, and inclusive amenities.

CCH believes that energy efficiency and environmentally friendly construction is the benchmark for affordable housing. The building is designed and constructed to meet or surpass the guidelines set by Enterprise Green Communities. These standards result in greater energy and water efficiencies, better indoor air quality, and greater longevity of the facility to meet its goals. Additionally, the energy efficiency of the building leads to lower utility costs, allowing the facility to continue providing subsidized housing for its residents.

Inclusive Medical Care for Veterans

All residents receive individualized support through CCH case management to maintain a stable environment and to keep veterans housed. On-site staff assist residents in obtaining any medical care, behavioral health care, or substance treatment services they require. For residents needing off-site medical care, Kimley-Horn produced and implemented a transportation plan for increased accessible parking and a drop-off zone for transportation between the apartment site and the hospital.

Realizing Project Goals

The entire project team worked diligently to help ensure the project was carried out efficiently and correctly and would provide a safe space for veterans in Colorado. Kimley-Horn is proud to be selected as part of the design, engineering, and planning team to create a space that will have a lasting impact on the community, making a difference for years to come.

About the Project Manager

Emily Felton, P.E.

Emily Felton, P.E.

Emily is a project manager with more than eight years of experience with Kimley-Horn working with public agencies and private land developers. Her background includes a variety of projects encompassing public works, traffic signal design, traffic studies, parking studies, roadway design, pedestrian and bike improvements, public outreach, stormwater management, erosion control, commercial and private land development, hydrology, utility and drainage design, and site design. Emily continues to develop and refine her civil engineering technical skills by working on a vast array of unique and challenging projects across various civil disciplines throughout the Front Range and into the Rockies. Emily’s ability to support her peers and maintain consistent high quality and timely deliverables makes her an invaluable member of the project team.


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