Women’s shelter gets upgrade with community help

Better able to cope with COVID precautions
Posted at 8:14 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 23:14:45-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A shelter that helps homeless women is getting its own help for a major expansion. KGUN9 has more on community efforts to help the shelter rebound from the effects of COVID.

The Sister Jose Womens’ Shelter specializes in helping women who’ve had a hard time in life. Lately, the Center’s had a hard time itself in the changing world of COVID but now a lot of forces in the community have come together to make things better.

Distancing requirements reduced the number of women the Sister Jose Center could shelter from life on the streets. Before COVID, it could shelter about 35 women. Now it’s about 20.

Director Jean Fedigan says now renovations should accommodate about 40 women in conditions that help reduce community spread.

“We're really strict about wearing masks, and we're really strict about social distancing, and it's made a difference.”

Work’s underway to replace swamp coolers with efficient, modern air conditioning.

Solar panels will be installed to help keep utility bills down.

There are plenty of people and organizations to thank:

Pima County for a construction grant,

The City of Tucson for the grant to buy solar panels

Tucson Councilmember Steve Kozachik for working with TEP to smooth the way for necessary power pole changes.

Tucson Councilmember Richard Fimbres for homeless job programs.

Fedigan is also grateful to A5 Design and Construction for being sensitive to the special challenges of remodeling a women’s shelter while women are living in it.

“If they needed to work in the rooms where the women are, they gave us time to really work with the women to make sure it's okay, and construction has not slowed down because of that.”

The shelter director says it’s hard to say how things will be when the pandemic lifts, but the renovations could help house even more women in the future.