KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsLocal News


New Pima County program to tackle homelessness

Posted at 9:45 PM, May 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 13:26:14-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Pima County implemented a new housing first program in hopes of reducing the amount of people living on the streets in the community.

The 15-month pilot program serves homeless individuals with mental health needs, addictions, and a minimum of two jail bookings in the last year. Pima County used 1.5 million dollars to fund it.

The county plans to house 150 individuals with this program.

"This is all for people who are homeless, and the real focus is the housing first approach, so getting people off the streets and getting them into housing first," said Chief Clinical Officer at the Old Pueblo Community Service Katy Scoblink. "Then, once they're in housing then we can work with them with their other issues."

Scoblink said the county will evaluate the program after 15 months and renew it for another year with a million dollars if it's proven effective.

"We continue to see lots of people come in and out of the jail. We continue to see them come in and out of the hospital and primarily the reason for that is because they don't have housing," Scoblink said.

Each resident will get 45 to 90 days in this housing before the Old Pueblo Community Services helps them transition into more permanent housing.

"Everyone deserves the opportunity to live in safe housing," Scoblink said.

In 2018, Pima county found 1,380 experiencing homelessness in a one night survey.

The goal for this program, Scoblink said, to become one step closer to ending homelessness in the community.