Greeley’s Hope Apartments to become housing for people with brain injuries

A Greeley nonprofit that runs a housing complex for low-income people with disabilities announced plans Monday to renovate the building so it can serve a different population, leaving current residents searching for new homes.

Administrators from Adeo, the nonprofit that runs Hope Apartments, met with residents Monday morning to inform them of the new plans to renovate the complex into housing for people with brain injuries who need around-the-clock care. Right now, the apartments are home to people with various disabilities who are capable of living independently.

Adeo’s administrator said the agency will assist residents with moving by paying fees for three rental applications at other locations, helping file those applications, assisting with moving plans and helping residents communicate with other apartment managers and housing programs that may have openings, a news release said.

But the 28 people who live in the building, including nine who use wheelchairs, are struggling to find housing that is both affordable and designed for people with disabilities. Every apartment at Hope has a roll-in shower, low cabinets and counters, and wide doors so they are accessible.

Those residents have been in limbo since Dec. 2 when management posted notices on their doors with vague language describing a possible renovation that might require them to move. Now, they know for sure that they must vacate the building by July 1.

Doug Peters, a 10-year resident who uses a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury, said he has been searching for a new home since Adeo administrators told residents in December that changes were likely coming.

“I’m running across affordability issues but, more than that, my problem is accessibility,” Peters said.

He has called 15 apartments and is on eight waiting lists.

One complex that he liked does not have roll-in showers and he cannot transfer from his wheelchair into a traditional bathtub/shower unit. He visited one affordable complex for people who are older than 62 and live with disabilities, but it did not give the 60-year-old the same feeling of independence he has at Hope Apartments.

“I went inside and I got the vibe of an old folks home right off the bat,” he said.

Peters, who receives a Section 8 housing voucher to pay rent at Hope Apartments, said applications fees are the least expensive part of moving. He said some places do not charge fees while he has seen some cost up to $40.

He will need to hire people to pack his belongings, drive them to a new location and then unbox and set up his new apartment. He will have to hire someone to uninstall the lift he uses to get in and out of bed and install it in a new home. And he’s worried he may have to pay for a new shower unit wherever he goes and that could cost $4,000 or more, he estimated.

“At least I know what they’re doing and why,” he said Monday after the meeting. “I didn’t feel like their offers of help were enough. They said let them know what we would need, but I don’t think they were really hearing what we need.”

Adeo already runs a facility in Greeley that provides supportive living for people with brain injuries called Stephens Farm. The property has 18 studio apartments and common areas for dining and recreation and provides 24-hour care, according to Adeo’s website.

The Adeo board of directors decided to renovate Hope Apartments into a similar setup because there is a shortage of places for people with brain injuries to live in northern Colorado and the agency has expertise in the area, the news release said. Construction will begin in August.

Sixty people are on Stephens Farm’s waitlist, the news release said. And the agency receives inquiries about it from across the country.

“Adeo’s primary purpose is to elevate life for individuals with brain injuries,” board president Deborah Sergesketter said. “The new supportive living program will allow us to better fulfill this mission while providing expert care to this underserved population.”

Efforts to reach Sarita Reddy, Adeo’s executive director, were unsuccessful Monday.

Cara Machina, whose mother founded the nonprofit and oversaw Hope Apartments’ development, said she is disappointed in Adeo’s decision. If the agency needs more housing specifically for people with brain injuries, then the board of directors should apply for grants and hold a fundraising campaign to build one.

Instead, they’re displacing other people with special needs. Only a few current residents at Hope Apartments would qualify to live in a building designated for people with brain injuries, she said.

“You’re cutting off a resource for people with disabilities who want independent living,” Machina said. “You’re cutting off something that was the core of this company.”

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