Casa Maria Soup Kitchen buys South Tucson motel for affordable housing

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 7:21 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A group that’s been helping the homeless for decades is trying something new to get at one of the root causes of homelessness.

Casa Maria has purchased the former El Camino Motel on East Benson Highway to turn it into affordable housing. The El Camino Motel will have 20 units and the average monthly rent will be $600-700.

Right now, there are no plans to kick out anyone currently staying at the motel. There will also be a couple of vacant rooms each night, for those who just need a temporary place to stay.

“We’re trying to buy places where people now live so they don’t get booted out of town,” said Brian Flagg, who lives and works at Casa Maria said. “The El Camino is one of a half dozen motels in the South Tucson area that (the people) eat at the soup kitchen.”

Flagg said the goal is to acquire more motels in Tucson and turn them into affordable houses for those in need.