Coming up on the 10-year anniversary of WellSpring opening its Castle Rock facility to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the nonprofit organization is working to expand its services through providing affordable housing.
With a $6.4 million grant from the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, WellSpring purchased the former La Quinta Inn on Park Street and plans to remodel it into 42 income-restricted apartments.
WellSpring’s Development Director Peter Barber said the design phase of the project is almost complete and construction is expected to begin in the next few months. The total project cost is projected to be $9 million.
“We really want this to feel like an intention community, where it’s more than just an apartment building, it’s a place where community is actually happening as well as a place people are living,” he said.
The Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce celebrated the incoming housing, as well as WellSpring’s efforts to provide work and community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2008, by naming WellSpring the February Business of the Month.
Chamber and WellSpring officials and community members toured the La Quinta Inn building and held an award ceremony on March 2.
“Your dedication to the Castle Rock community, the intellectual and development disabilities community is impressive and admirable,” Chamber President Stacy Garmon said. “We are excited to celebrate you, your accomplishments of the past, present and the exciting things for the future.”
Barber said the support from the Castle Rock community has been crucial to WellSpring’s success.
“We know that we would not be able to do what we do without the incredible and generous support from the community, and I don’t just mean financial support, I mean the way Castle Rock has embraced us and our participants is nothing short of breathtaking,” he said. “We’re just so grateful.”
Barber said WellSpring jumped at the chance to purchase and remodel the La Quinta Inn building because of a lack of housing options locally for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, particularly independent living options.
One housing option for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities is host-home providers, but Barber said even that isn’t an option for everyone because of cost and labor constraints.
WellSpring’s housing will include 24/7 on-site staff to offer residents assistance, though they will not be medical providers, Barber explained.
“The need for housing far outweighs the solutions that are currently out there and the host-home provider model isn’t something that works for all adults with IDD or families, so that’s where the need came from to come up with something different, unique and innovative,” Barber said.
Post-remodel, the apartment building will offer integrated housing, meaning both residents with and without disabilities can rent the units, though WellSpring has not determined how the apartments will be split. The units will not be exclusive to adults in WellSpring programs.
Barber said integrated living leads to better outcomes for people with disabilities, such as better health and longer lives, and improves the overall community.
“There’s a mutual exchange and mutual benefits when a community is reflective of the actual members of the population,” he said.
Additionally, WellSpring is working with the Douglas County Housing Partnership to determine income-restrictions for the project.
Barber said he anticipates the application process will open up sometime this spring or summer.