Former sober living hotel off-limits to the public

Tucson condemned Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel and now work is underway to clean and fix the property
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 6:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The standoff between the management of a southside motel and the sober living participants who lived there is over. But occupants who left the Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel Friday were still searching for shelter.

“Oh man, it was like a movie, like a haunted house in there with no power and you can’t see like two feet in front of you so kind of dangerous,” said Aaron Moreno, who left the Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel Friday.

He said he moved in six months ago for a sober living program.

“It never started. It was supposed to but it never did,” Moreno said about the help that many of them were seeking. “Of course, well that’s why we’re all here in the first place you know what I mean we all needed the help and they’re offering it, so we took it but it wasn’t what it was cracked out to be, you know?” Moreno said.

Ocotillo management said that the program, which some have called Happy Times and the name new direction has also been associated with this program, stopped paying, owed Ocotillo $360,000 and stuck them with hundreds of program participants with nowhere to go, so many of them didn’t leave.

“They’re condemning it, I guess they said they’re going to put a fence up,” Moreno said.

The standoff ultimately ended when Tucson Code Enforcement found the property no longer had electricity and its fire suppression was vandalized to the point that the place was unsafe. As of Monday, no fence surrounded the property, but security officers were on site. Even after the struggle to stay, Moreno said that he knows who is ultimately to blame.

“More or less the program, not the management, you know what I mean. I guess they’re getting the fraught end of it, too, so I don’t know. It seems like we’re all losing here, you know, and those other guys are gone, nowhere to be found,” Moreno said.

Everyone vacated on Friday. Tucson Police said that no arrests were made for what would have been trespassing.

Those who still need assistance can call 877-931-9142. They can also call 2-1-1 and press option seven.

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