New apartment building to open for homeless in Denver (KUSA 9News)

DENVER - A three-story, 50,000 square-foot building with 60 one-bedroom furnished apartments and on-site staff will soon open to help Denver's homeless.

The Sanderson Apartments, located at 1601 S. Federal Blvd., is the largest supportive housing project for the Mental Health Center of Denver.

"We're estimating that we're about 26,000 affordable housing units short," Dr. Carl Clark, CEO of Denver Mental Health Center, said. "So this particular project is 60 units -- that's good but we've got a long way to go."

The project is part of the city's plan to provide housing for 250 of its homeless residents through the Social Impact Bond program.

The cost of providing safety-net services to the homeless is about $7 million per year, the Denver Department of Finance says.

They say stable housing and support services have been proven ways to help the homeless move to self-sufficiency and to reduce social services costs.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, the Mental Health Center of Denver and other agencies broke ground on the Sanderson Apartments Monday.

"I simply had the audacity to believe that people who want to live in this city, ought to be able to live here," Mayor Michael Hancock said. "And unfortunately there are those who fall way beneath the margins of our city who need a little more help than others."

Construction is expected to be complete in the summer of 2017.