Mark Shockley held up his index finger and thumb about a half-inch apart and said he was that close to being homeless.
Shockley, 64, asked if he could speak toward the end of the grand opening celebration of the Windsor Meadows Apartment Homes on Wednesday. The Vietnam veteran told the story of how close he was to being out on the street until he was able to find housing in one of the 44 units in Windsor, located about one mile north of King Soopers off 15th Street adjacent to the Windshire subdivision.
“This is such a godsend. It had gotten to the point where nothing was affordable anywhere,” said Shockley, who lives in a one-bedroom unit. “I called I don’t how many groups, how many contacts through the VA and I could not find anything until I heard about this project. This is just an unbelievable thing that has been provided.”
The apartments, which are full and have a waiting list of close to 200, are equipped with stackable washers and dryers, 12-foot vaulted ceilings, walk-in closets, a breakfast bar, dining room and patios. The $10 million project also includes a community building right in the center of the complex, a playground and basketball courts for the kids and solar panels on the roofs of the buildings. The units have already won energy awards and have been awarded additional grants by Xcel Energy. These apartments are not your dad’s workforce housing units.
There are 12 1-bedroom units, 24 2-bedroom units and 8 3-bedroom units in the first phase, with 36 more units planned for phase two, making it an 80-unit apartment complex. The current project has to be stable for at least six months in order for the Windsor Housing Authority to apply for the second phase.
Windsor Meadows resident Linda Odom, 64, said she feels blessed to be living in the new apartments.
“Everyone seems to care about their living arrangement,” Odom said. “It really feels like home in your heart.”
With the average home price in Windsor exceeding $325,000, Windsor Meadows is something the town has needed for decades. The property generated $7.3 million in tax credits, and Windsor Housing Authority chairman John Moore said there is still a need for probably 400 units of workforce housing in Windsor.
“The Windsor Housing Authority board of directors is very proud of this beautiful complex,” Moore said. “It has turned out beyond even our expectations, and we had promised a lot of folks in this community that we would do an A-No.1 job when it came to providing workforce housing. We are a local board and we were going to make this a success.”
Moore praised the Loveland Housing Authority for its help as the development partner in the workforce housing project. He also said the Town of Windsor reached out with fee waivers and became a conduit on the Windsor Housing Authority’s behalf with the Colorado Division of Housing for a grant that helped pay for the land. Moore said the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, the allocating agency for tax credits in Colorado, was instrumental as a resource partner in helping to finance the project. Those tax credits are sold to investors that ultimately provide the cash to build projects such as Windsor Meadows.
Steve Johnson, director of the community development division for CHFA, said the Windsor Meadows project first came up on the CHFA’s tax credit allocation committee list more than 10 years ago when the Windsor Town Board really started facing the affordable housing issue.
“Between 2003 and 2009 when the studies really started in earnest, you had average home prices, even in 2009, of well over $300,000,” Johnson said. “You had only 38 percent of the workforce actually living in Windsor. The rest of them were commuting in. In this community, you couldn’t afford to live and those are serious issues. This is a beautiful property. This project has stood apart from many.”
Moore said Windsor Meadows is a dream come true.
“We had a desire to build this. We had studies telling us that Windsor is in desperate need for this type of housing,” Moore said.
Cheri Milliman, community manager for Windsor Meadows, said rent is based on the income of residents and ranges from $373-$622 (1 bedroom), $448-$750 (2 bedroom) and $690-$868 (3 bedroom).
Colorado’s Department of Local Affair’s Patrick Coyle, the division director for the Colorado Division of Housing, said Windsor Meadows is an impressive property and that the personal stories of the individuals and families and what it means for them to live there are what is so important.
“Affordable housing is a very fundamental part of our lives, and that stability allows us to take that next step,” Johnson said.