"To provide supportive housing and promote stability to diverse homeless families and individuals by utilizing community resources, advocacy, and life skills training."
The Inn Between of Longmont, Inc.(The Inn) was established in 1993 out of the collective efforts of a coalition of 23 community agencies looking to address homelessness in the St. Vrain Valley. Although existing community organizations provided basic needs services for the homeless, low-income households facing homelessness needed an affordable housing option and complementary supportive services to empower them to achieve long-term stability. Homelessness is an especially salient issue in Boulder County, where high median household income, net in-migration, and a lack of developable land has caused a shortage of affordable housing. Market rate housing costs have increased 14% and the overall cost of living in Boulder County increased 11 making it even more difficult for low-income households to find and maintain housing. Those whose earnings fall below 30% AMI are particularly challenged to find adequate and affordable housing. Only 5% of rental options cost below $1,000/month. (City of Longmont Homelessness Services Assessment)
Initially, The Inn operated under a parent agency, Family Extension, and included one building with 31 units. The agency received its own 501(c)(3) status in 1999, and has subsequently grown to include 4 buildings with a total of 72 units. As the number of older adults lacking adequate retirement income and families experiencing homelessness increases, The Inn continually seeks opportunities to increase capacity. In 2015, we moved our administrative offices offsite to accommodate two additional families and three more individuals. In 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was established with Centennial Park Apartments to set aside five affordable housing units for Inn residents with earnings at 40% AMI while The Inn continues providing supportive services.
A new opportunity to expand capacity developed in 2016, when a local church donated a ¼ acre land parcel to the Inn to construct six permanently affordable, supportive housing units that will house up to 14 individuals; including the elderly and disabled. Construction began in 2018 and completion expected in late 2019. These increases in capacity have allowed us to be adaptable to the needs of our community; growing in both the number of people served each year and the scope of services and tools we provide to residents. While our capacity and tools have evolved, the design of our Supportive Housing Program has not changed as our model has proven to be effective. The Inn remains one of few agencies addressing the lack of affordable housing for < 30% AMI populations and is the only local organization providing both affordable housing with wrap-around services to offer a pathway out of homelessness.
The Inn Between utilizes a strength-based model in our programs and resident advocacy work. This approach emphasizes client's strengths, and views them as resourceful and resilient in the face of adversity. Our Supportive Housing Advocates help residents identify strengths and align available resources that will help them achieve their goals. This is done with the understanding that each resident is an expert on their own assets and deficits.
The Inn Between views stable housing as the building block for future growth among our residents. In order to promote long-term housing stability, we provide supplemental Supportive Services. Our program asserts accountability, and requires each head of household to design a "Success Plan" to meet their self-identified goals. Each Head of Household revisits and updates their Success Plan at multiple points throughout their residency, thereby promoting ongoing growth. In addition to our advocacy services, The Inn offers a variety of tools to residents including: Life Skills Trainings, an Education Center, Food Pantry, Community Events, a Future Housing Savings Program, Emergency Fund, Scholarship Fund, Resource Referral, Resource Navigation, and Back-To-School Supplies.
To qualify, Inn households must earn less than 50% Area Median Income Limits (AMI); a typical Inn family earns only 20% of AMI. (AMI for a family of four in Longmont is $98,400). By providing decent, stable, affordable housing, with wrap around services on continuum of care, clients are empowered to build stability and become self-sufficient.
Our Supportive Housing Program is comprised of the following four components:
Transitional Housing (TH) - provides safe, affordable, time-limited housing for families and individuals who are facing homelessness. Applicants to the program are referred through our 15 partner agencies, and must live or work in the St. Vrain Valley. Rent is approximately 30% of the resident's gross income.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) - provides low-income elderly and/or disabled individuals with long-term housing. Many face significant mental health or physical limitations, and other barriers to housing. PSH residents pay approximately 30% of their adjusted monthly gross income for rent.
Student Incentive Program (SIP) - targets at-risk youth experiencing homelessness. It provides students (16+ years old) with no-cost housing and a safe, stable, and supportive environment that allows them to stay in high school, focus on their studies, and graduate.
Contracted Housing Units - Housing units specifically contracted for use by partner agencies to accommodate their clients. Resident eligibility is flexible and determined to best accommodate their specific client needs.
The Inn Between recognizes the importance of collaboration with other agencies to find additional resources and support for our residents. Currently, we work with 15 local partner agencies: Boulder County AIDS Project, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, City of Longmont Senior Services, City of Longmont Children and Youth Resources, Emergency Family Assistance Association, Genesis Program, Mental Health Partners, Outreach United Resource Center, Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley, St. Vrain Valley School District, 20th Judicial District of Colorado, Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement, Boulder County Housing and Human Services, Reentry Initiative, and The City of Longmont. Collaboration with these partner agencies is a critical part of our operations, allowing the agency to serve a diverse population of residents, and ensuring that community resources are utilized efficiently and effectively. Partner agencies refer applicants to our programs and provide support during the application process. In addition, some of our residents received supplemental case management from their referring partner agency, allowing them to receive specialized support while we focus on barriers related to housing.
The Inn collaborates with multiple local businesses, churches, foundations, and individuals to address the broader issue of homelessness and affordable housing in our community. Inn Between staff members are members of multiple groups working to broadly approach these issues including the Longmont Housing Opportunities Team (LHOT), Committee for Advancing Affordable Housing, Housing Colorado, Homeless Solutions Boulder County Management Board and the St. Vrain Community Council. Our staff collaborates with many local agencies to ensure an efficient use of community resources. In addition, the agency pursues new collaborations with groups that may offer affordable housing for our residents upon exiting our program.
"I came to The Inn Between as a homeless teen in the Student Incentive Program and graduated from high school. Not long after, I became a teen mom. 10 years later, I'm still employed by Boulder County and my son is grown. I own a home and my son just graduated from college with a 4 year degree! It's because of The Inn and all the support you gave me that I have a stable happy life now. Thank you."
-A Former Inn Resident
"Without question what attracts me most about the agency is the Inn's ability to change people's lives for the long term. I have seen the results first-hand: their participants want to get back on their feet and improve their lives for the long-term."
- Inn Supporter