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Tucson, Pima County looking to buy hotels to house homeless

Posted at 8:28 AM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 11:28:57-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It's estimated that around 850 people are living without shelter in Tucson and Pima County.

"The pandemic put a lot of people in severe financial conditions. We've always served those who are low-income, but we definitely saw an increase in the impact," said Tucson Housing and Community Development Department Director, Liz Morales.

The City of Tucson and Pima County were recently provided new funds to help the growing number of people experiencing homelessness — $12,770,187 is coming from the American Rescue Plan.

"The program is very specific for communities to acquire and construct non-congregate shelter and affordable housing for people who are experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or those who are severely house-cost burdened," said Morales.

During the height of the pandemic, the City of Tucson used hotels to house people living on the streets. Morales said expanding that program could be a good use of the new money.

"Tucson Mayor and Council have directed us to purchase hotels. By purchasing hotels we can provide services through our non-profits. It really increases the overall number of beds in our communities," said Morales.

The funds would be used for more than just beds. The city and county want the hotels to serve as a hub for services and help people turn their lives around.

"They're going to be paired with case management and other services. They'll have the ability to get into programs to gain employment or benefits. They'll get on a pathway towards self-sufficiency, dignity and not have to live on the streets," said Pima County Community and Workforce Development Program Director, Dan Sullivan.

The city and county are seeking the community's input on this project. Meetings are scheduled for November 1 from 2-3 p.m. and November 3 from 10-11 a.m. Click the links to register.