The Greccio Housing Story
Greccio Housing is a local nonprofit that exists to create stable, safe, and supportive affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families who work and live in Colorado Springs.
Over 3 decades ago in 1990, Greccio Housing began in a 100 square foot donated storefront near downtown Colorado Springs, with a dream of improving the quality of life for people in need of a stable and permanent home. Founder, Claudia Deats-Rodgers, witnessed the need and dared to meet it. Today, we provide affordable housing and opportunities for a new generation of those with modest incomes who need and deserve safety, stability, and support.
Claudia’s dream is alive, even as ‘demand’ for affordable housing has become a crisis. Housing stability is under threat for thousands due to fast-rising real estate values and rents, only modest increases of new affordable units, slow growth in wages, and inflation that challenges all family budgets.
Imagine being a single parent with 2 children, making less than $40,000, and having to pay rent, utilities, and day care, maintaining a full-time job, and all with no family or other support… what do you do? how do you make it? Then imagine that you find a place that offers rent that is 40% less than market rate, offers emergency assistance, life skills coaching and educational resources, outreach and advocacy, and is a community partner with dozens of critical and supportive agencies… how relieved would you be to have found Greccio Housing?
Greccio Housing has grown from 9 apartments in a single property to 600+ apartments at over 2 dozen properties throughout Colorado Springs. Greccio’s model of bringing new units to our portfolio has flexed over time in response to changing funding, real estate, and other environments. These models have included acquisition/rehab, adaptive re-use, new construction, use of volunteers and/or professional contractors, and variations of ownership, partnerships, and 3rd-party property management. Through all the variations, our focus has been on the benefit of residents and our community, and maintaining a sounds and sustainable operation. As an experienced Community Housing Development Organization, we understand how to fund acquisitions and renovations that eliminates costly deferred maintenance, establishes adequate cash flow, and responsibly meets financial needs well into the future. Our business model is proven. Ultimately however, Greccio’s success is not measured in numbers, but in the stability of families, the homelessness averted, patterns of poverty interrupted, and dreams achieved.
Greccio’s effectiveness is due to 2 successful and interlocking programs, the Affordable Housing Program and our Resident Resource Team. Our funding model results in low debt-service payments, which allows for lower rents, sustainable properties, and responsiveness to community needs. While low rates offer affordability, Resident Resources offer the means to overcome threats to individuals’ and families’ independence, growth, and stability. By expanding our portfolio, we contribute to the community need for additional and adequate affordable housing. By expanding resources and opportunities for residents, we offer the chance for residents to thrive.
Residents consist of singles, traditional families, veterans, young adults, the chronically homeless, elderly, those with disabilities, and many others. We are partners with faith-based organizations, affordable housing and transitional housing providers, local service clubs, businesses, and other nonprofits that provide a range of unique services. Our commitment to collaborative relationships reduces or eliminates duplicated services, expands opportunities for our residents, and saves our community and government its limited resources.
Claudia’s dream, like many others from so long ago, remains alive and has grown with every resident success, every dollar committed, and every hand and heart that has volunteered so selflessly to make our mission a reality. Please join us as we continue the dream for decades more, and for the thousands of individuals, children, and families that will know Greccio as home.
Starting with a reduction in their housing expenses and moving towards life skills development, our affordable housing and supportive services empower residents to break the cycle of poverty and achieve greater self- sufficiency.
Greccio strives to provide safety to all of our residents through thorough background checks that ensure that all of our properties are family-friendly and community oriented. Greccio is also phasing in video surveillance equipment throughout our dozens of properties, allowing residents to feel more secure in their home environments.
Greccio continues to expand and develop supportive services to best meet the needs of the residents. Programs and services include eviction prevention and utility assistance, our No Cost Grocery Program to reduce food insecurity for residents and holiday programs to ease the financial burden that could impact a family's ability to meet their monthly bills.
Our mission is to provide stable, safe, affordable housing, to offer resources for residents to achieve stability, and to promote solutions to the affordable housing needs of our community.
As a community housing development organization in Colorado Springs, Greccio is passionate about serving as an integral part of the housing continuum. Ensuring that our residents are not burdened by the cost of their housing coupled with the ease of access to the variety of services offered through our Resident Resource Center is critical to resident success. Greccio’s Resident Resource is a hub of activity, offering residents access to a variety of services, guidance, and assistance that help on their path toward self-sufficiency and independence. The advocacy and outreach provided, as well as the skill and community development offered by the Resource team, creates an environment of support, learning, and advancement for our residents.
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In the truest sense of the word, the formation of Greccio Housing was based on a calling. Claudia Deats-Rodgers was no stranger to opening her heart to a ‘higher calling,’ and was equally familiar with the commitment and consequences of answering that call. Claudia committed to a religious order for 31 years, dedicating her life to the service of others. That period transitioned rather than ending, when she was asked to assist with development of a new affordable housing property for seniors. That housing “project” evolved into a 2nd, and eventually to a calling to serve others through a specific type of help: affordable housing.
Garnering support of helpers and volunteers from an array of relationships and related stakeholders, the calling to ‘community, reflection, and action’ evolved into the nonprofit affordable housing agency that is Greccio, Housing Unlimited, Inc. She welcomed and exhorted others to join in the cause. As Founder of Greccio, Claudia did more that start a nonprofit, she identified a problem and set forth a mission that has only grown in relevance and importance to the people of the Pikes Peak Region. Claudia was a visionary who saw people as ‘gifts’ in the world, seeing their need for housing stability as central to their dignity and humanity.
Callings are also experienced as leaps of faith – requiring obedience and action when the path is not yet clear and outcomes are unknown. Claudia answered the call to a life as a Sister of St. Francis, and served faithfully. She answered a new call in serving her community through housing, which brought not only the founding of Greccio, but a new life as wife to her beloved husband, Forrest. Her calling was satisfied in 2003, when hard work and duty were replaced with retirement and rest. Vocational responsibility was complete; though personal callings, obedience, and high expectations continue to move and direct her life.
Over 3 decades later, Claudia’s first priority when hearing of a latest success or achievement by Greccio is consistently to ask, “how is this good for the residents?” She is not easily impressed, unless the result is a positive outcome for others. Claudia’s influence then is her legacy now. And the charge to all Greccio employees, stakeholders, and community at large is to help our fellow citizens access safe, stable, and affordable homes, and to result in “peace and all good” for others. Or in the words of St. Francis, "pace e bene."