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Bringing hope to the homeless population with ‘HOPE in the Park’

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 00:40:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Homeless Connect put on its ‘HOPE in the Park’ event at Santa Rita Park on Friday.

“It means a lot because we really are assisting people in actually getting help in moving up, as opposed to just putting a bandaid on a problem,” said Britni Brown, the president of Tucson Homeless Connect.

The goal is to break down barriers and connect the homeless population to the resources and the help they need.

“Sometimes it is literally just about having the knowledge and getting to the next steps. Sometimes they can’t get the ID, they can’t get the birth certificate, they can’t get into the housing, they can’t get to the shower to get the interview. And we have all of that here,” said Brown.

“We have stuff to give back such as shoes, blankets, and goodies, like our resources,” said Samuel Turner a youth and peer outreach engagement specialist with Goodwill.

Tucson Homeless Connect has put on this event for the last 12 years, but Brown says the event gets bigger and better. Compared to years past when the event hosted about 20 community providers, this year it hosted 56.

“At events in the past, we’ve helped between 300-400 people. We’re expecting that number to be much larger this time because of the houses going on in Tucson. There’s been a lot of people out in the streets and we expect that number to be larger. And so we are prepared to host 600 people today,” said Brown.

The event covered it all: COVID-19 tests and vaccines, housing, behavioral health, VA benefits, haircuts, legal assistance, and job opportunities.

Turner says engaging with the community while lending a helping hand is what he loves.

“It just shows the community there are people out there who care and they want to help this community get better and look better and healthier and just come together as one,” said Turner.

Tucson Homeless Connect credits the expansion of this event to its partnerships with the Tucson Police Department and Tucson Parks and Recreation.