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Tucson Gospel Rescue Mission looking for ways to help homeless after capacity reduced

Posted at 3:37 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 22:02:14-04

The halls of the Gospel Rescue Mission are quiet compared to what Victor Hightower has grown accustomed. 

“It was like a ghost town for a while,” Hightower said. “Some of the clients were telling me it feels eerie because we're always so busy.”

In March, the City of South Tucson told the mission it was overcrowded and needed to reduce its over-night capacity by half to comply with new fire codes.

Men who had a permanent bed here were forced out. Others who came for a night were turned away. More than two months later, Hightower says the mission is making the best of it, but still not serving as many people as it once did. 

Staff converted one of its dormitory rooms and can now house 11 men on a night-by-night basis. A fraction of the 30-40 men who typically came for daily services like meals and laundry.  Those men used to sleep on the floor, before the new fire code took effect, but now they must find other places to sleep. 

“Out in a wash, under a bridge, the parks, it’s tough,” Hightower says the mission is considering an expansion or moving as staff look for ways to help as many people they can.