Breaking ground for homeless medical respite center in Tucson
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A groundbreaking for Tucson’s first medical respite center for homeless men and women will take place at the HS Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity Tuesday, May 3, at 10 a.m.
CEO of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, Peg Harmon, said the groundbreaking comes after a year-long look at the need for a respite center for homeless individuals in Tucson.
“That needs assessment involved many people, the people serving people experiencing homelessness... We worked with the jails and police and the hospitals to determine what the need was,” Harmon said.
El Rio Health Center, Catholic Community Services, and the HS Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity are all working together to make this respite center possible.
Harmon said during their research, they learned homeless individuals don’t have an opportunity to recover from illnesses or injuries after being released from the hospital, because they don’t have a home to go to. Harmon said the new center will give the homeless a place to recover, which in turn saves lives and lowers the number of patients who have to go back to the hospital.
“There will be cost avoidance or reduced costs of rehospitalizations, seeing people again and again in emergency rooms,” Harmon said. “I think our community benefits as a whole. It also gives our police departments another place for people who are ill and on the streets to be treated and served.”
Estimates show the new center will serve more than 1,500 homeless people every year.
The 15,000-square-foot space will include housing for 10 women and 36 men. Harmon said common areas will include a small group therapy space, large activity areas, a place to eat, a kitchen and a chapel.
The center will also have a pet play area.
Harmon said the new building will reduce emergency room visits by 40% and lower in-patient care and hospital re-admissions by 70%.
Almost $3.5 million has been raised to support this almost $7 million project.
A lot of donations are still needed to make this possible. You can donate here.
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