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Sister José Women's Center bed expansion project completed

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 12, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Sister José Women's Center completed Phase One of its expansion project, bringing in more beds for women who need a safe place to sleep.

I was at the center in late February, just before the construction started. Today, I visited Sister José to see the new sleeping area. Before the expansion project, they housed about 42 women.

Nicola Hartman, CEO of Sister José gave me a tour of the renovations, she says they're happy they don't have to turn away many women anymore because of the limited space. Hartman tells me women come from all walks of life and all ages, ranging from 18 to 80+ years old.

“Sometimes a woman can do everything that she’s supposed to do," said Hartman. "And still there’s nowhere for her to go.”

The expansion project brought the number of beds up to 54. Sister José also built three showers, two toilets and a private meeting room. Women who aren’t guests can come in for the daytime program to use the amenities.

“Not only do we want to feed women and help them get clothing," Hartman said. "We want to help them move forward.”

I met Barbra Gomez during my last visit to Sister José. She was at the center for five months, left and is back again—but this time with great news.

“I currently am waiting for my house," Gomez said.

She's grateful for the assistance she’s received. Even after she moves into her brand new home, Gomez tells me she will always return to Sister José to help out.

“So, the duplex I’m gonna be going into is currently being built. It’ll be done by the end of July and Sister José is helping me by staying here.”

Gomez described how unhoused women are big targets since because of their SSI, she says women can try to fight men off, but aren't always successful.

“It’s not safe out there," Gomez said. "Bringing them in here is a big help.”

Expanding the multipurpose room is next, giving women ample space to enjoy meals and programs. Hartman says Sister José has to fundraise money, but tells me the next phase could happen this fall or Spring 2025.

More information on Sister José Women's Center is here.

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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.