Posted February 1, 2023
Last Wednesday, Jan. 25, City of Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Director Liz Morales, and Housing First Program Director Brandi Champion hosted the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) leaders at City Hall. The delegation visited to learn how the City of Tucson has exceeded its House America goals. The sole mission of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness is preventing and ending homelessness in America.
USICH Executive Director, Jeff Olivet and Senior Regional Advisors Helene Schneider and Tamara Wright, along with HUD Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Beth Florence, joined City staff as they shared how they are exceeding the City's House America goals, talk about the City's successes implementing our Housing First model, and discuss the challenges ahead.
During their visit, USICH and HUD members were able to tour the Wildcat Inn to see how Tucson is operating low-barrier bridge shelter. They heard how we are preparing people to maintain their housing once they are in a unit and how the City is using harm reduction, meeting people where they are, and providing the wrap around services through referral to unsheltered individuals. USICH & HUD were impressed with the way Tucson is utilizing the housing first and harm reduction models. They asked questions and were able to see and talk to people that we serve on site.
“USICH is here to work with us because we have had success in permanently housing over 220 folks through Housing First," said Mayor Regina Romero.
Additional discussions included how Tucson will participate in the new federal initiative All-In Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent & End Homelessness and how City and federal partners can work together to remove barriers for persons experiencing homelessness. All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, sets a goal to reduce homelessness by 25 percent by 2025. The plan is the most ambitious effort by any administration to prevent people from becoming homeless and address inequities that disproportionately impact underserved communities.
The City of Tucson's House America Goals include:
Metric 1 – Rehousing Goal: Rehouse 220 individuals and families experiencing homelessness before December 31, 2022.
The City of Tucson and its non-profit subrecipient network re-housed 1,246 individuals experiencing homelessness which includes 244 individuals re-housed through American Rescue Plan and CARES Act investments. Remaining households were rehoused through City of Tucson entitlement, Continuum of Care, General Fund, State, and other investments.
Metric 2 – Housing Creation Goal: Add 50 units of affordable housing to the development pipeline by December 31, 2022.
The City of Tucson and its development partners constructed and opened 226 units of additional affordable housing during the House America initiative through entitlement, LIHTC, and American Rescue Plan investments. An additional 505 affordable housing units have been added to the development pipeline through these same sources with construction anticipated to begin in 2023.
Shelter Bed Creation Goal: Add 125 shelter beds by December 31, 2022.
The City of Tucson added an additional 137 shelter beds through the purchase of non-congregate shelters Wildcat Inn, Desert Cove, and Milagro on Oracle adding them to the existing 27 on Oracle for a total of 164.