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Lower Energy Costs a Benefit of Denver Affordable Housing Upgrade

14 Jul. 2017

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Lower Energy Costs a Benefit of Denver Affordable Housing Upgrade

EOC supports $7 million project at Halcyon House

Life is brighter for the low-income elderly and disabled residents at a downtown Denver apartment building that Energy Outreach Colorado helped renovate.

Halcyon House is a 16-floor, 197-unit affordable housing community built in the early 1980s. It was purchased by California-based GHC Housing Partners in January 2016, and since then about $7 million in improvements have transformed the structure.

EOC managed the installation of LED lighting, energy efficient refrigerators and pipe insulation for the steam boiler. Some of the energy efficient upgrades were funded through Xcel Energy rebates.

“For once in my life I got to break in a new refrigerator,” said resident Sharon Fitzwater, who moved into Halcyon House about four years ago after living in homeless shelters. “I like anything that’s cost-effective. In this day and age money is at a premium.”

Fitzwater, 55, like all Halcyon residents, qualifies for Section 8-subsized rent. She is not able to work because of chronic health conditions and lives on $735 a month in federal disability benefits. 

She is careful about energy usage – relying on fans instead of her swamp cooler and rarely turning on the heater in her 9th floor apartment – but she’s still noticed a drop in her monthly energy bill that’s allowed her to purchase other necessities.

“I like to keep at least $90 in the bank for emergencies, and the extra money can also pay for cab fare when I need it,” she said.

The extensive renovation also included new quartz countertops, dark cabinets, plank flooring, and stone accents, as well as amenities like a cardio fitness center, library, game room and movie theater.

GHC Housing signed a contract to ensure the apartments remain affordable for the next 20 years. Its affiliate, PK Management, manages the facility and has added two staff members to coordinate social programming for residents.

“There’s no reason that Section 8 housing can’t look as good as market-rate housing and deliver the same quality of life as all housing,” said CEO Gregory Perlman. 

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