Support for the Homeless
First and foremost, the Church supports Attention Homes Apartments because it is consistent with our core values and mission to support the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Consistent with these ideals, we currently offer, at our Church building, assistance that reaches over a hundred of Boulder’s homeless through meals offered by our Heartfelt café, space for Bridge House and, until recently, day shelter support through Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow. We also support the administrative offices of Boulder County Aids Project, Out Boulder, and Attention Homes through below market rents for their operations on our city block. The Attention Homes project will help change the trajectory of homeless youth and actually reduce the number of homeless in our community. This is consistent with our mission and is an extension of our current operations. It is also an opportunity that is receiving our overwhelming endorsement from our congregation.
First United Methodist Church is completely financially indifferent to this project. Whether the project is approved or denied, our financial position does not change. The Church currently rents buildings and the parking lot on our block to finance the upkeep of our 150-year old historic Church building and to provide subsidized rent to our non-profit partners. In the event the project is approved, these same buildings and leasing of parking spaces during weekday business hours inside the underground parking garage will continue to allow the Church to receive income at the same level, adjusted for inflation, as it receives today. No proceeds, developer fee, or additional rental income from Attention Homes Apartments will go to the Church.
Almost all of the surface parking on the block will be moved underground and substantially the same number of spaces will be available as we have today. Evidence shows that homeless young adults are very unlikely to have cars. The Church does not need, nor have we ever had access to in 150 years of operation, the 133 parking spaces required by the Code. This is why Gardner and Attention Homes are requesting a parking reduction and they have data to back up their request. Additionally, we are asking the City allow us to rent 33 parking spaces during weekday business hours to the general public. For over 20 years, the Church has been renting between 30-50 spaces to the public while still reserving parking for the people who reside and work in the buildings on our block. This project essentially results in no change from the current parking status quo.
Additional Community Benefits
First United Methodist Church has agreed to landmark the seven eligible turn-of-the-century buildings on its block if Attention Homes Apartments is approved. This ensures that the character and scale of this part of the Whittier neighborhood is preserved forever. This also represents the largest single landmark dedication in the City’s history. Additionally, the Church has agreed that the new Attention Homes Apartments will be designated as affordable housing in perpetuity. If housing for homeless youth is no longer needed, the Church will work with the City and the project’s partners to provide housing for the thousands of others in our community who need safe, stable, affordable housing.
The Church has existed since before Colorado gained statehood. We are honored to be partnering with Gardner and Attention Homes on a legacy project that will serve our community’s most vulnerable for decades – if not another century – to come.
~ Rev. Matthias Krier, Pastor; Jon Kottke, Lay Leader; and Mike McCue, Chair of Trustees