Photos: Homeless female veterans focus of housing project at old Su Teatro site
This group of homeless women needs more comprehensive support in Denver, Lease says.
"The women veterans are an underserved population from day one," she says. "There's a stigma, I think, against any woman who has a mental-health issue and a substance issue.... There's not an understanding of how those combine to lead people to where the only choice they have left is...the street."
In the Delores Project, a transitional and emergency shelter exclusively for women, the number of female vets seeking a safe place to sleep has grown and now makes up around 20 percent of the women the organization serves.
Sam Levin Facade of the future site of the housing project. (Slide show: Faces of Homelessness in Denver)
Construction of the Odyssey project will officially begin in January, and developers hope that by the end of 2013, they can start opening their doors to women and families.
At the groundbreaking event, speakers in attendance said housing for a population in need was a fitting use for the space.
"Whatever happens to this building, it will always be a benefit to our community," Tony Garcia, executive director of Su Teatro, told the crowd. He added that female vets and the Elyria neighborhood have earned this kind of support. "We are as much as part of Denver as anybody else is and we don't deserved to be ignored."
Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero added, "I can't think of a more symbolic project to be able to be a part of... I'm very, very honored that we will have women coming out of the military that will be here, so that we can embrace you."
Continue for more photos from the groundbreaking and renderings from the developers.