Second Chance Center was joined by partners, funders, leaders, and community members of Denver’s Overland neighborhood to celebrate the groundbreaking of Residences on Acoma.

Second Chance Center, a Colorado-based nonprofit dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people transition back into society, celebrated a major milestone on May 6 with the groundbreaking of its latest property, Residences on Acoma. The new development will provide 128 new income-restricted homes in Denver, including 60 supportive housing units for households earning 30 percent or less of the area median income and 68 units dedicated to people experiencing homelessness or transitioning out of the justice system.

“Second Chance Center brings a unique voice, lived experience, and dedication to help formerly incarcerated individuals build successful and fulfilling lives,” Christi Smith, director of Enterprise Community Partner’s Rocky Mountain Programs, said in her inaugural remarks. “We applaud their vision and commitment to serving everyone in need and for taking the necessary, critical steps to reach those who have long been underserved and cast aside.”

Residences on Acoma addresses critical issues faced by Denver, one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. for renters, by expanding affordable housing options for lower-income residents. Through a wide range of on-site supportive services, it also aims to help break the cycle of criminal behavior and imprisonment. The initiative will leverage Wellpower’s community behavioral health care model to provide crucial mental healthcare and substance use disorder treatment, complemented by services like case management and peer mentoring. This comprehensive support framework is designed to meet the diverse needs of residents, including older adults facing homelessness after long periods of incarceration and working adults striving to rebuild their lives. 

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston joined the celebration and highlighted the transformative potential of the initiative. 

“Most folks exit corrections and they … can’t find a place to live or work. Before you know it, 40, 50, 60 percent of them are back in the same spot all over again. But you all dream something very different,” he reflected. “What if, when those folks come out, instead, we can get them directly connected to housing, directly connected to workforce training, directly connected to folks who’ve walked this path before who can show them what’s possible? Suddenly, their future looks totally different.” 

The project will leverage SCC’s network to identify and house current clients who may not require as many services but experience difficulty finding housing due to their backgrounds. Workforce housing will be available to qualifying adults, including SCC’s pre-apprenticeship trainees and entry-level apprentices. As these residents gain financial stability, their contributions will enhance the sustainability of the development.

"Residences on Acoma symbolizes hope and opportunity for those seeking a second chance," said Khalil Halim, the organization’s executive director. "At Second Chance Center, we believe in the transformative power of stable, affordable housing paired with comprehensive support services. This groundbreaking is not just about building homes; it's about rebuilding lives and communities."

This milestone was supported by substantial funding from multiple sources, including $5,350,000 in gap financing and $1,350,000 for comprehensive support services over 15 years from Denver’s Homelessness Resolution Fund and Affordable Housing Fund.

Enterprise Community Partners supported Residences on Acoma through grants; low-interest loans; and tax credit syndication, including $16 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and $4 million in state credit equity. Enterprise’s Equitable Path Forward (EPF) program provided grant dollars and deployed its Standby Guarantee Facility, a credit enhancement tool that creates access to new sources of investments for developers whose balance sheets might not meet traditional investor requirements. Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Enterprise’s community development financial institution (CDFI), provided a lower cost $2.5 million loan to support site acquisition and a $1 million loan for predevelopment costs.

“Second Chance Center is exactly the kind of compassionate, savvy, forward-thinking organization Enterprise’s impact investments were designed to support,” said Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise’s Capital division. “Through Equitable Path Forward, we are proud to harness the power of our generous donors, our CDFI, and our housing credit investments business to help make their newest project a reality. Residences on Acoma will not only bring long-term affordable housing to a high-cost city, but the development will also deliver critical services to some of Denver’s most critically underserved residents.” 

Since launching in 2012, SCC has offered case management, mentoring, and vital resources to assist formerly incarcerated individuals in reestablishing their lives and becoming successful members of the community. Read more about the organization’s work.