Imagine being a single parent who has lost his job after a serious injury. Imagine telling your daughter that you are now going to be homeless without that income and that she will have to live with family while you prepare to move into a homeless shelter. Imagine living in a shelter, attending physical therapy, dealing with pain, and looking for a job, while being separated from your child. This was the reality of a local family. And thankfully, due to your support and a grant from the Arizona Department of Housing, this family has been reunited and has reached stable housing.
Each night, it is estimated that an average of 180 Tucsonans experience homelessness, the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the state.1 In Pima County, 1 in 5 residents live in poverty and the Tucson metro area has the fifth highest rate of concentrated family poverty in the nation.3 These are not numbers to be proud of.
And yet with this grant, with community partners like Primavera, and with your personal donations, we can be proud of some amazing progress. In the past three months, Our Family Services has housed 33 families, including 64 children – families that found a home before the holidays and have shelter from our cold winter nights.
Imagine what it must have been like for our family above, to have woken up on Christmas morning, together and at home. With a few months of assistance, this parent was able to regain his health, find employment in his field, and achieve his goal of financial self-sufficiency. He and his daughter have exited the program with an income that has allowed them to maintain their apartment, for the daughter to remain in her current school, and even to begin a savings account.
This spring, Our Family will participate in several advocacy days at the Capitol, meeting with legislators and carrying our message of homelessness advocacy for our community. As we prepare for these meetings, we’d love to hear from you – what message would you like us to bring to our elected officials? Please email me directly at email@example.com, and thanks for getting involved!
1 Annual Report on Homelessness, AZ Department of Economic Security, 2016.
2 MAP Dashboard – Poverty Rate, University of Arizona, 2017.
3 US Concentrated Poverty in the Wake of the Great Recession, Brookings Institute, 2016.