Transitional housing project draws concerns from neighbors


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Northglenn’s city manager said she felt left out of conversations about a state-proposed facility that plans to house people with mental illnesses.

NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Two mental health transitional houses are coming to Northglenn and the city said it knew nothing about it until officials requested information from the state.

“We didn’t really have a full understanding of what these homes are and the impact to our local community,” city manager Heather Geyer said.

According to the Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health, the project will house people with mental illnesses and sex offenders. The office’s website has information about the mental health transitional living homes. The sites are meant to “be used as a transition to a less restrictive setting for individuals with severe mental health conditions. Clients may stay as long as necessary for stabilization with an ultimate goal of reintegrating clients successfully in the community.”

The transitional housing is expected to move into 11125 and 11175 Grant Avenue in Northglenn. Both locations were formally used as senior living communities.

Geyer said the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) reached out to the Northglenn police about the project January 2024. The city said the department forwarded the communication and that’s how Geyer found out about it.

The next month, Geyer said she called a meeting with human services department leads. 9NEWS obtained an email from Geyer confirming her request to the state on Feb. 8 to meet later in the month.

In the email, Geyer writes to Lindsay Lucas in the office of civil and forensic mental health, “I am hoping to connect on partnering with you for a community meeting. We believe a community meeting with resident notification is important prior to residents moving into the facility.”

“It’s very clear to us that the state hasn’t been transparent with the city,” Geyer said. “We believe the state had no intention of notifying me, the chief of police, the mayor about this facility.”

CDHS confirmed the state connected with police in January to, “ensure the homes were in compliance with all local ordinances,” communications manager Jordan Saenz wrote in an email. “Then, we met with city officials in February and legislators in March to discuss these homes.”

Geyer explained this initiative falls under House Bill 22-1303, which became law to create more beds in mental health facilities. She said the language of bill gives the state clearance to move without involving the city.

“We know that based on the way the legislation is written, they deem this as a matter of statewide concern which means they don’t have to follow our local land use process,” Geyer said.

Since word has circulated about the project in Northglenn, Geyer said she’s been fielding calls of concern.

“The primary concern is the housing of sex offenders in this location,” Geyer said. “This is a densely populated area in close proximity to schools, parks, trails and we don’t believe this is the right location for the city.”

To provide a space to hear from the community, the city held a community meeting for stakeholders and neighbors.

“Our residents have no voice, arena, to ask questions, share concerns, show support,” Geyer said. “We believe that lacks transparency as government.”

The state confirmed that representatives will be present at the meeting. Also planning to be there is Gus Romero, who lives across the street from the proposed sites.

“It’s a scary proposition,” Romero said. 

Romero lives in a senior living community. He said the targeted resident pool puts his neighbors at risk.

“What are we going to wait for? One of these guys to lose their cool? Wait for something to happen?” Romero questioned.

He said he doesn’t know a lot about the project and feels that as a neighbor, that’s a problem. 

“I don’t know why it was such a big secret,” Romero said. “Such importance.”

Geyer said the city is working with state representative Jenny Willford, to push for a late bill status. She said this will allow an opportunity to build in criteria for sex offenders.

Willford confirmed over text she has requested the department not house sex offenders in the housing, given its proximity to vulnerable populations. She said she’s been in contact with House leadership and the Governor’s office.

According to the state, up to two registered sex offenders will be allowed in a home at once. However, the state maintains sex offenders make up less than 2% of referrals. This makes it less likely sex offenders will live in one of the homes most of the time.

CDHS said two of its homes are already open in Littleton and Colorado Springs. It is looking to bring two additional homes to the Springs, as well as three homes in Lakewood, two homes in Northglenn, two homes in Denver, two homes in Pueblo West, one home in Littleton and one home in Westminster.


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Transitional housing project draws concerns from neighbors

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