Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Expediting Hotel-to-Housing Conversion with Opus Foundation Grant

​On a given night in January 2022, more than 2,000 people were living on the streets in Denver, according to the Point In Time Report, a community survey of homelessness led by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. That number is 2.2 times greater than it was in January 2019, prior to the pandemic. Given the marked increase, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is more committed than ever to add to its array of transitional and affordable housing options – and they are making it happen fast.

An Opus Foundation multi-year grant of $200,000 is helping the Coalition expedite the conversion of a former Denver hotel into Renewal Village, a 215-unit supportive housing community, in less than a year. It will be the Coalition's second largest residential facility.

“Speed to market is no small matter when it means 215 individuals and households will soon have a place to call home," said Britta Fisher, CEO of the Coalition. “This is relatively instant housing considering housing developments often take five years. We need this kind of property reuse now to address the crisis of homelessness."

From Healthcare to Housing

The Coalition was formed in 1984 when a group of community leaders was tasked by local government officials to address issues surrounding homelessness. Their first strategy was opening a healthcare clinic. Very quickly, however, the clinicians recognized that a first logical step to addressing health issues is stable housing.

“We know that having a stable place to live is a critical start to addressing mental and physical health issues, as well as social and vocational improvements," Britta said.

Today, the Coalition works to decrease homelessness in Colorado through preventive measures, developing and operating transitional and permanent housing facilities, and providing support services such as healthcare, post-hospitalization recuperative care housing, job training and employment services, affordable childcare, and mental health and substance use treatment to those experiencing homelessness. It serves about 20,000 individuals and families annually and is the state's largest supportive housing provider.

Just over half of the Coalition's 800 employees work within its federally qualified health center with multiple clinic locations. The remaining employees are responsible for 23 residential apartment properties with a collective 2,400 units and integrated health and supportive services.

Opus Foundation Grant Completes Renewal Village Funding Array

Renewal Village will be ready for occupancy in early 2024. The nine-story building built 40 years ago will offer 108 permanent and 107 transitional housing units for individuals and families who have been chronically unhoused. Some of those residents may stay for the rest of their lives, while others will be there temporarily until their names rise to the top of waiting lists for housing elsewhere.  

“Opus Foundation's grant completed our funding array," Britta said. “Now, we're able to proceed with the work on the property. We are excited – hammers will be swinging in the next few weeks."

It Takes a Village

The Coalition relies on varied funding sources to provide its breadth of services, including fully leveraging a limited allotment of low-income housing tax credits. Because government support has limits, private funders like the Opus Foundation play a critical role.  

“We believe that homelessness is a solvable issue when people work together. We partner with many stakeholders to create lasting solutions, including the government at the federal, state and municipal levels; charitable foundations; private donors and businesses," Britta said. “There's not just one organization, there's not just one person – it's a community-wide effort to create lasting solutions to homelessness."

The Opus Foundation previously granted the Coalition $181,500 for capital improvements at the Renaissance Children's Center, which provides subsidized and affordable childcare with teachers who have special training in working with needs of children overcoming homelessness. The associates in our Denver office also provided funding and volunteer support to beautify the organization's Stout Street Health Center.

“We appreciate that the Opus volunteers brought great energy and initiative to their efforts and engaged with our staff and clients to better understand the Coalition's mission and work," Britta said.

Since 2018, Joe Swensson, Director of Real Estate Development, has dedicated his community service efforts to the Coalition and helping address homelessness. He has volunteered in various capacities, including serving on the nonprofit's finance committee for several years.

“The homelessness situation in Denver is really eye-opening," he said. “Like the Coalition, I believe everyone deserves a home and am dedicated to helping more people move from the streets to stable, long-term housing."

When individuals move into permanent housing with supportive services, they gain more than a physical address. They gain security, a community and hope.

“For me, part of why I do this work is seeing people change as they come back into housing," Britta said. “That sense of relief, that sense of security and safety, the rest – a lot of people sleep for a week or two because they've been so stressed. It's amazing to watch them heal, restore and stabilize. I love that part of this work."


The Opus Foundation®​ is the corporate foundation for The Opus Group and is building community for a better tomorrow by supporting projects and programs that make our communities better places to live, work and raise families. The Foundation is committed to improving conditions that disproportionately affect historically underinvested individuals and communities by resourcing key focus areas of early childhood education, youth development, workforce development, community revitalization and pressing/emerging needs. Read more about the Foundation's work. The Opus Foundation is a separate entity from The Opus Group and is led by its own Board of Directors.​