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Tucson looks to create more shelter space as city faces housing crisis

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 4:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Skyrocketing rent costs, record low vacancies and climbing home values have stacked up to create what’s being called a housing crisis in Tucson.

“Something has really got to be done,” said Judy Sanders, a 59-year-old Tucson woman currently experiencing homelessness.

The ability to find affordable housing, or at this point shelter space, has become a day-to-day for Sanders.

“The waiting list is ridiculous. It’s so long. How do you stay positive and keep thinking something is going to happen?” she said.

Last night she and her dogs slept in a friend’s garage.

“Before that we were on the streets out in the park which is difficult as well,” she said.

The city of Tucson has seen rent prices climb by 30 percent and home values are up nearly 50% since 2017, according to Housing and Community Development Director Liz Morales.

“This is a different kind of housing crisis than what we’ve seen in past events because this is effecting a broader segment of our community,” she said.

Morales said Section 8 housing has become harder to find and there’s no waitlist open for their housing programs.

“People are having to double up or stay with family and that’s the reality right now of people not being able to find affordable housing,” she said.

Tucson is in the process of purchasing two hotels to use as shelter space. They want to open the first 49-bed hotel sometime in December. For now, people like Sanders say they’re trying to stay hopeful. She said as long as her and her dogs are together, she’ll keep pushing through.

“We’re a family and I don’t know where I would be without these guys,” she said.

Find information about the city and county collaboration to end homelessness, here.

A database for affordable apartments in the area can be found, here.

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