Unison Housing Partners is disrupting generational poverty through socially conscious community development in Adams County.
As a progressive housing authority, Unison is committed to addressing the systemic injustice that is the root of poverty. We do this by creating a pipeline of high-quality affordable housing, facilitating community building to impact change, and focusing on individual strengths so members can create the life they aspire to live.
2018 was a year of introspection for Unison. We settled into our new name and brand and looked internally at our team and our methods. We asked hard questions of ourselves, leading us to rethink our culture and our core beliefs as a progressive Housing Authority dedicated to disrupting generational poverty through socially conscious community development. We are proud of how far we have come as housers inspired by a set of core beliefs that guide our every interaction with each other, with our members and with the communities we help to strengthen. As an organization we are committed to providing housers with a work environment that promotes health and well being and where we all have a seat at the table. As we charge forward in our mission, we will continue to evolve and strengthen our culture, successfully shifting the housing paradigm to one that is member-focused and member-driven.
› PETER LIFARI › Executive Director
The eﬀorts of the Unison team in 2018 resulted in impressive accomplishments for a Housing Authority. Collaboration was key over the last year as Unison explored new partnerships with North Metro Community Services and Adams County. Through these multifaceted relationships we are able to expand our reach and ultimately provide more homes to more Adams County residents. We will continue to explore new opportunities for collaboration that will further Unison’s ability to implement socially conscious community development.
› Paul Franke › Chair, Unison Board of Commissioners
- Veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities, and families being reunited with their children
- 41.5% of voucher-holders are seniors or people with disabilities
*Figures are an annual approximation
Mike is a strong community voice for Alto members. As one of the earliest Alto residents, Mike serves as the core Member Leader for community vitality, facilitating community meetings, organizing community events and engaging his fellow community members in tenant advocacy, environment policies and establishing meaningful connections with Unison leadership.
“As a member of the Alto Community Council I love the fact that my opinion is sought after in order to make Alto better for everyone. I really enjoy being involved and having the opportunity to connect with the other residents and office personnel.”
MIKE MEDINA › Alto community member
Pamela Gantenbein is the type of neighbor who will always stop to smile and ask how you’re doing. A natural relationship-builder, she has found purpose in connecting with other Alto residents and leading the property’s community organizing eﬀorts.
“I really enjoy listening to and connecting with others. It’s just the kind of person I am,” said Pamela. “This role is so rewarding because we are all improving and achieving our shared goals together.”
PAMELA GANTENBEIN › Alto community member
In March of 2018, long-time Unison director Don May retired from his post after 26 years of passionate leadership and unprecedented dedication to the aﬀordable housing arena. Over the last two-plus decades, May helped to grow Unison from 132 units of aﬀordable housing, to more than 2,700 units at the time of his retirement (with over 1,400 of these units owned and/or managed by Unison). May’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit also helped shape Unison’s culture in instrumental ways, including the founding of our nonproﬁt entity, Low Income Family Empowerment (LIFE). May is a true leader in the aﬀordable housing arena, having helped to address various challenges our community has faced over the years with innovation and creativity.
For ten years Craig Carlson has dedicated his time and talent to Unison as a member of our Board of Commissioners and our Development Committee. During his tenure with Unison our organization and our development portfolio grew exponentially, much in part to his sound advice and support. A preeminent developer in his own right, Craig has personally contributed to the economic vitality of Adams County through his work, and also his service. As he ends his time on our Board following three consecutive terms, we thank him for his creativity, expertise and dedication. And we look forward to his continued engagement in the future as a member of our Development Committee.
- In August 2018, Energy Outreach Colorado granted Unison Housing $63,000 to support our Rent and Utility Assistance program, directly beneﬁting 125 limited-income Adams County households. A private nonproﬁt corporation, Energy Outreach Colorado helps pay the home energy bills for thousands of limited-income Colorado seniors, families with children and individuals with special needs. They have a core belief that everyone deserves aﬀordable access to the vital resources that power their homes – a value very much in line with Unison’s core belief that everyone deserves a home.
- In 2018, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded Unison Housing Partners 14 new vouchers for disabled low-income Adams County residents. The vouchers were awarded through HUD’s 811 Mainstream Voucher Program, and their cash value is $158,000 in annual budget authority for Unison. These funds will ensure that low-income disabled residents, a population which encounters immense barriers to obtaining aﬀordable housing, may continue to have access to aﬀordable, quality homes in Adams County. To facilitate delivery of the vouchers, Unison has partnered with North Metro Community Services for referrals. North Metro Community Services provides strong advocacy for people with developmental disabilities and are committed to the protection of human rights, respectful relationships and individualized care.