LITTLETON, Colo. — The City of Littleton will redevelop the site of the city-owned Geneva Village, which has provided housing to low-income seniors for decades.
City staff argue the buildings are in need of extensive repairs, and are concerned about asbestos putting current residents at risk. City staff recommended that Littleton City Council close the community and redevelop the site into new affordable housing for a wider range of residents in the years to come, rather than pay an estimated $5 million in repairs.
Current residents of Geneva Village, though, have expressed fear over uncertainty for their future. Many have lived at the site for years and are low-income, with an average income of $18,000 per year. Geneva Village, which hasn’t raised rent prices in 40 years, has offered them stability and the opportunity to build their own small community.
“I love Geneva Village. I really do,” resident Robyn Bernstein told Denver7. “I love the trees, the birds, the wildlife, the gateway to the city. I think it’s just beautiful.”
City staff presented Littleton City Council with two options for the site to consider: move the residents out of Geneva Village temporarily while the units are repaired and mitigated for asbestos or move the residents out permanently and tear down the existing buildings to make way for redevelopment in the years ahead. At Tuesday's city council meeting, dozens of Littleton residents spoke out in favor of both options during dedicated public comment time.
Ultimately, the council voted 6-1 to redevelop the site, with several council members saying it was the financially responsible option for the city.
Council members and staff reiterated their obligation to the current residents at Geneva Village, saying their current predicament is the result of years of mismanagement by the city. A social worker with the city has been assigned to help residents transition into new housing and apply for housing vouchers to address the expected cost barriers.
Still, residents expressed frustration and unease for their many unanswered questions. Mary Hanson, another resident at Geneva Village, said she fears being displaced from her home and community.
“I feel like I’m already going to be on the street out there if this happens, because there’s nothing out there that we can afford,” she told Denver7. “We’re old people. They have to take care of us.”