TUCSON, Ariz. — From 2019 to 2020, the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness said there was a 60.3 percent increase in unsheltered homelessness in our region.
I Am You 360, a local non-profit, is working to house homeless young adults in safe housing communities.
“Having my own home— it’s just amazing," said Daniel Tadeo, as he looked around his first place for the first time.
It’s been a long road for the 18-year-old.
“When I was 15, I got kicked out of my mom's house," said Tadeo. “I was couch hopping and going into shelters and just going out in the streets, but luckily I stayed strong."
Tadeo said he applied for a few other programs before I Am You 360 accepted him into its safe housing community.
“[There were] so many days that I felt down and just felt like giving up, but like for some reason, I just had this strength just to keep going,” he said.
The safe housing project is allowing Tadeo and nine others to level the playing field as they look ahead to the future.
"It is all about gainful employment, introducing them to secondary education, community service, and at the end of the two to the three-year program, they will have enough to purchase their first home. We feel that's creating generational change," said Desiree Cook, CEO and founder of I Am You 360.
The idea was seven years in the making.
“I was homeless. I had children in foster care-- incarcerated, with low self-esteem, you name it. So, I can honestly say to the youth selected or any other youth in the community, I am you,” said Cook.
I Am you 360 is planning on breaking ground soon on another safe housing community.
“Our permits for construction have just been approved. So, construction is set to start. They should be completed within the next six months," she said.
The community will house nine more young adults like Tadeo.
Tadeo is now working towards his goals of securing a job and giving back to the community.
“I want everybody to know that they are somebody and having my own place makes me feel like I am somebody,” said Tadeo.
I Am You 360 is still taking applications, you can apply here.
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