Homelessness spiked more than 60% from 2019 to 2020, according to The City of Tucson. The Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness reported nearly 25% of those homeless in 2020 were women.
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Sister Jose Women Center has been helping homeless women for the past ten years.
"Many times, you have someone that comes to the door and say, I've never been homeless I don't know what to do I don't know where to go, can you help me,” said Jean Fedigan, executive director.
She said that’s why Sister Jose's is working to nurture those women and give them a place to grow.
There are two programs, the day program for women to pick up a bite to eat and find a way to get back on their feet; the night program is where women have the opportunity to stay in the shelter.
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"Pre-COVID pandemic, we were seeing about 100 to 120 women every day and then our night program was for 30 women,“ she explained.
During the pandemic, they are still helping women manage the pressure---with meal pick-ups, shower availability, and an overnight shelter running at limited capacity.
They also provide clothing and partner with agencies to help the women get health care and housing.
During normal times, the center would have opportunities for the women in the center to learn and even secure work, but Fedigan said it has been a bit challenging during the pandemic.
"We have and we have helped about 150 women into housing we try to partner with agencies to make sure that they can work with an agency," she said.
For women like Jill Schindler, it means the world. She’s been taking advantage of the center’s resources for five years — off and on.
"Sister Jose's opened their door to me, and actually never closed them three or four times in the last five years, and I've been through numerous classes that they have offered,” said Schindler.
She just wants people to know that while we are in the midst of homeless crisis — to treat everyone with respect.
“Homeless people or people as well, just like anyone else. We haven't made the same decisions as other people at this country is made individuality,” she said.