Tucson rolls out resource number for homeless, advocates

Jacob Owens

Tucson has established a 24/7 homeless hotline to provide information on available programs, such as shelters, food banks, mental health and medical assistance, etc. .

The hotline, 520-791-2540, is more than a tool for those directly dealing with homelessness, said Brandi Champion, director of the city’s Housing First program.

“This is a great resource for anyone helping someone who needs help connecting to resources they might not otherwise hear or know about,” Champion said in a post. Tuesday press release.

The program will also provide assistance to those who may soon become homeless.

The increase in the number of homeless people in Tucson, along with calls for city services, led to the creation of the line, said Housing Department spokesman Ernesto Portillo.

Mayor Regina Romero and the city council tasked the Department of Housing and Community Development with setting up the line, which was made available from June 1, “in response to the needs of people who are not housed”, says the Press release.

Portillo said the line is another way the city is addressing homelessness, adding to other efforts like the Tucson Police Department’s homeless outreach team.

“It’s just another layer of the multi-layered approach the city has taken around unprotected people,” he told the Tucson Sentinel.

Employees of the Department of Transport and Mobility, already available day and night to respond to traffic problems, will answer calls to the line. The tool will likely be permanent, Portillo said.

The mayor and council are to be commended for an additional resource that reflects Tucson’s values, Housing Director Liz Morales said in the release.

“Our community can now access resources and assistance for those who may be homeless or currently without a roof over their head,” Morales said. “We are a community that cares for each other, and this resource line is a reflection of that community care.”

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