Organization turning to new model to fight homelessness

Organization turning to new model to fight homelessness

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A local organization is working on a plan to fight the homelessness problem in southern Arizona.

Saturday morning, Old Pueblo Community Services invited local leaders to learn more about the "Housing First Model." The goal is to place people who are homeless into permanent homes, instead of mass housing.

"We've realized that housing is the intervention that helps people change," said Tom Litwicki, the organization's CEO.

Theresa Mahler first heard of Old Pueblo when she was released from prison about a year ago. She said after having spent more than 17 years behind bars, she didn't have anywhere to go.

"I didn't know what I was going to do because when I was in prison, I was like where am I gonna go. If I just walk out, I'm gonna end up just back to the same place I was. And somebody told me about old P," she said.

The organization placed Mahler in transitional housing for a couple of months before moving her into a permanent apartment at Royal Palms.

The organization partners will several apartment complexes across Tucson.

The organization said transitional housing is just the first step. Litwicki said putting people like Mahler in permanent homes within the community is the solution.

"The mass shelter is the human thing to do, but it doesn't fix homelessness," said

As for Mahler, it's a plan that changed her life.

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