Follow Up


Northglenn neighbors concerned over mental health transitional housing opening near school

Neighbors and Northglenn city officials say the state launched the project which would house some sex offenders and patients with severe mental illness, with minimal public notification.
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Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-29 21:05:09-04

NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Hundreds of neighbors have signed a petition to stop a state-run mental health transitional living home from opening in a former assisted living home near E. 112th Place and Grant Drive in Northglenn.

"It's such a good neighborhood that you could send your kid by themselves to go to school and not have any concerns. But now, the biggest concern is sex offenders being housed there," said Jeremiah Martinez, who lives nearby.

His wife Martina created the petition.

"I would have appreciated that [the state] would have at least told the city, those of us that live in the city, their plans before even deciding that this was going to happen," she said.

A letter from the City of Northglenn was sent out in mid-March, explaining the project and what types of patients are being considered for the transitional housing, including sex offenders. The letter also notes the facility is in compliance with city required distances from any nearby schools, in-home daycares and trails.

"We strongly feel that if we had not taken the step to send the letter out, residents would have found out about this after the fact," said City Manager Heather Geyer.

Geyer said the first time the city heard about the project was in an email sent from a state staff member to the local police department's general inbox. It was asking to get more information on housing sex offenders.

The project is one of several transitional housing units that are a result of 2022 legislation to increase the number of behavioral health housing options across the state.

The state's website describes the homes as places of "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 into the community."

The city manager said they called a meeting with the state to get answers on Feb. 27.

"The general consensus by staff and myself following that meeting is we really didn't get our questions answered," said Geyer.

The City of Northglenn is not legally able to stop the development and said while the city is required to notify the public about local land-use issues, the state doesn't need to follow those local rules.

Denver7 reached out to state officials, who referred us to a document of Frequently Asked Questions.

It explains the patients will have around-the-clock treatment and supervision during their stay.

In regards to sex offenders, the document said, "we only allow up to two registered sex offenders in a home at once. In smaller homes with 11 people or fewer, there would be only one registered sex offender. However, the number of referrals we get for registered sex offenders is very low, less than 2% of all referrals. So it's likely that there won't be any registered sex offenders living in a home most of the time."

In regards to concerns over lack of public notice over the project, the State released a statement saying:

"We did contact the city for an inspection of the property and contacted the police department. The Colorado Department of Human Services will be at a community meeting next week to answer questions and provide information. We are developing a plan for future homes to continuously improve communication."

"Given the lack of transparency in this process, I have zero confidence that the state did our residents, or the people of Colorado, right," Geyer said.

Families nearby are hoping to raise awareness about the project that is expecting to move in the first patients in the next few months.

"It doesn't seem like a wise decision on anybody's part. We feel that [patients] need help, but it shouldn't be at the cost of our own families," Martina said.

The Colorado Department of Human Services and contractors, who will help run the facility, will be at a public meeting hosted by the City of Northglenn on April 3. Local officials and police will also be on hand to answer questions

It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Northglenn Recreation Center in Community Rooms 2 and 3.

According to the state, transitional homes are already open in Colorado Springs and Littleton. There are more planned for Lakewood, Northglenn, Denver, Pueblo West and Westminster.

Northglenn neighbors concerned over mental health transitional housing opening near school

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