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Tucson Park Safety Officers help homeless get housing through COVID-19

Possibly long-term solution to more permanent housing
Posted at 7:00 AM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 10:00:20-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Police Park Safety team is partnering with city groups to help homeless through COVID-19 with a new program.

COVID-19 housing program is funded by the Federal CARES act to help stop the spread of the virus in these vunerable population.

The Park Safety Team does outreach at all 128 parks in Tucson.

"We’ve been specifically looking for individuals who may have symptoms of COVID-19 or may be susceptible or high risk because of underlying medical conditions," Park Safety Officer Jennifer Hider said.

If a person falls in one of the two categories, officers will place them at either a hotel for high-risk isolation or for symptomatic individuals.

The team is sponsored by the City of Tucson and partnered with the Sullivan-Jackson Shelter Hub, SunVan and I Hope Medical transport.

Hider said Tucson Police data shows they've accounted for 60% of the 200-300 people placed in housing.

She said she thinks this could help long-term get more homeless in permanent housing.

"Some folk that I’ve talked to for the past nine months are now saying, 'yes, I’m ready to do this. This is an option I like and it is an option I know is a stepping stone, and I will get the other service providers to assist me once I get there," Hider said.