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While there is rapid growth and much prosperity in Denver, many families are finding it increasingly difficult to flourish. Affordable housing and high-quality early childhood education are out of reach for more and more families. When families have access to these two essential resources, they have a chance to break the vicious cycle of poverty and thrive.


The East Colfax Neighborhood defined by the borders of Quebec (west) and Yosemite (east) and 11th (south) and Montview (north) of Denver is a quality childcare and ECE “desert” as defined by the 2019 Mayor’s Status of Denver’s Children Report. This means there are few if any quality childcare options and more than three times the number of children under 5 as available childcare spaces.

There is substantial evidence that links educational and life benefits for children that participate in quality ECE. For example, children are less likely to repeat grades, need special education, engage with law enforcement, and more likely to graduate from high school, earn more money, and own homes as adults.


Child Poverty Rates (% of households at Federal Poverty Levels with children) are over 17% in Denver and 12% in Colorado. In 2018 in Colorado it cost a family of four approximately $84,000 a year to meet basic needs including childcare, while the median household income in the East Colfax neighborhood is approximately $46,500.

Kids in Preschool


In response to what community members said the neighborhood needs, we are proud to lead the collaboration for a future mixed-use development of an Early Childhood Education (ECE) space and apartments located at 1500 N Valentia Street in Denver, CO.


The Mile High United Way Early Childhood Education Center envisioned for the ground floor of the development is designed to fully support families by offering affordable housing and quality childcare and early education. Key features of the ECE Center include:

  • 5,400 square feet of ground-floor space for ECE operations

  • Serving approximately 45-50 children (infants to pre-school age)

  • The ECE Center will be subsidized for families up to approximately 165% of Federal Poverty Level (approximately $41,000/year for a family of four)

  • 2,000 square feet designated to outdoor ECE play area

  • Convenient operating hours: Monday through Friday, from early morning through early evening.

  • Easy access to public transportation


Conceptual Rendering 


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Mercy Housing is proud to be partnering with Mile High Early Learning (MHEL), a local, highly respected ECE operator where a shared vision in creating a vibrant and resource-rich childcare option will be a valuable investment in our future.

Mercy Housing is grateful to partner with Mile High United Way. This project aligns with Mile High United Way’s mission to support families with wraparound supportive services, including the onsite early childhood education center.  Founded 135 years ago in Denver, CO, Mile High United Way continues to strategically partner with organizations that will support families for years to come.

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