Hickenlooper, Bennet secure $2 million for SLVH workforce housing

Photo by Priscilla Waggoner Thanks to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, SLV Health received $2 million in federal funding to renovate and update Pike Avenue Apartments. The eleven unit building will provide workforce housing on the hospital's campus.

Funding boosts work already underway

ALAMOSA — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have secured $2 million in funding to further SLV Health’s ongoing efforts to provide workforce housing for some of their contract employees.

The award is part of a larger appropriations package that passed 75 to 22 in the Senate with strong bi-partisan support and is now headed to President Biden’s desk. Funding in the bill is slated to bring a total $129 million to 120 community projects across Colorado.

According to Donna Wehe, Communications Director with SLV Health, the application for funding was to improve the Pikes Place apartment building that SLV Health recently purchased.

“The building is located on our campus,” Wehe says, “and we want to make improvements to the property to bring it up to par for workforce housing.”

Currently, SLV Health is renting between ten and fifteen apartments throughout Alamosa to accommodate those visiting professionals who are working locally and providing needed health care services as well as long term medical students who are doing their residency with the hospital.

“This housing will allow us to keep our workforce nearby and on campus, which is so much more convenient for everyone. It’s especially helpful for those people who are part of a couple but have only one vehicle. That can create problems when a spouse needs to go to work and the professional or student needs to come to campus. Renovating Pikes Place and having people comfortably housed on campus solves that problem.”

But, Wehe says, there was another prime motivation to do this, not just for how it benefits SLV Health but also for the benefit it will provide to the Alamosa community.

“We have a serious shortage of affordable housing in Alamosa,” she says. “By buying and renovating this apartment building, we can free up those other 10, 12 or 15 apartments we’re renting throughout the town and make them available to others who need a place to live. It’s just a great deal for everybody involved.

“We’re very excited to get this award,” Wehe says. “It’s really great news.”