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Reconstructing Sister Jose Women's Center to add more beds

Sister Jose Women's Center is undergoing construction over the next weeks to make space to fit more beds
Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 12:56:14-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucson is seeing a rise in the number of women experiencing homeless and needing a safe place to stay.

Sister Jose Women's Center will soon break ground on a new project next month that will support unhoused women.

The center will break ground Wednesday, March 6 and reconstruct the donation drop-off area into a space to fit about 10-15 new beds.

They currently house 42 women and their furry friends.

Nicola Hartman, CEO of Sister Jose, told me along with wanting to make the new bed area more accessible for their elderly guests, the sleeping area they have now is overflowing.

“A very small, defined space doesn’t work for them," said Hartman. "They can’t turn around, they can’t easily access their bed at night. And so, this new space will allow us to say yes to more women and to maybe look at how we serve them.”

The center sees upwards of 120 women every day.

One guest I talked with, Brenda Gomez, has been at the center for five months.

She said while Sister Jose is very generous with its amenities, it could use more space.

“In my situation, it was really stressful where I came from and thinking there wouldn’t be no bed, I didn’t know where I was gonna go, what I was gonna do," said Gomez.

The City of Tucson told me Sister Jose received $250,000 to fund some of this phase through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Construction for phase one is expected to take about eight weeks.

But with limited space, the expansion doesn’t stop here.

Phase two and three consist of building classrooms to offer services to guests and creating a proper donation area.

“I have nowhere to put someone without, you know, displacing other people," said Hartman. "I don’t want to displace women who are resting to offer services when they need that rest as well.”

Sister Jose is always taking donations. With limited space due to upcoming construction, they’re only accepting items like seasonal clothes, hygiene items and rolling suitcases.

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Jacqueline Aguilar is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born and raised in Yuma, AZ., she is no stranger to the unforgiving Arizona heat. Now this U of A wildcat is excited to be back in Tucson and is looking forward to involving herself in the community. Share your story ideas with Jacqueline by emailing jacqueline.aguilar@kgun9.com or connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.