Homelessness & poverty
All cities struggle with homelessness and poverty. Here are some programs the Mayor’s Office is working on to help.
Ending veteran homelessness
Tucson is one of 25 cities nationally leading the effort to end veteran homelessness by 2016—a challenge issued by the Obama administration. Mayor Rothschild accepted the president’s challenge, launching Tucson’s initiative in June 2013.
Since then, the Mayor’s Office has been working with 14 partner agencies, following a model known as Housing First, which puts people in housing first and then surrounds them with support services.
To meet our goal, we need to house 1,650 homeless veterans by December 31, 2015. We’ve had to change how we process applications, how we share information, and how we place people in housing—but we’re on track to meet our goal. As of May 2015, we’ve placed 1,044 homeless veterans in housing!
How you can help
Donations of cash, furniture and household items are accepted. Volunteers are needed to help with move-in, and volunteer veterans are needed to help as mentors. Contact Karla Avalos in my office for more information.
Ending chronic homelessness
The second part of the 25 Cities Effort is ending chronic homelessness by 2017. We’re taking our process improvements from housing homeless veterans and applying them to this population, too. Read more…
Summer Food Service Program
The Mayor’s Office promotes the U.S.D.A.’s Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals over the summer to children 18 and under. Read more…
Mayor’s Poverty Commission
In Mayor Rothschild’s first State of the City Address in February 2013, he announced the formation of a Poverty Commission, co-chaired by Patti Caldwell of Our Family Services and Peggy Hutchison of Primavera Foundation.
Since then, the commission hosted a poverty simulation, so that leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors could have a better sense of the challenges facing people living in poverty.
The commission received technical assistance from HUD to begin creating a Coordinated Entry System, now being used in our initiatives to end veteran and chronic homelessness.
Also, commission members funded a study by the University of Arizona’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences on poverty in Tucson—a complex subject, with many contributing factors.