Million dollar grant from AZ Attorney General's Office to prevent homelessness

Million dollar grant from AZ Attorney General's Office to prevent homelessness

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There's a big push to help prevent homelessness across Pima County. Earlier this month, the Gospel Rescue Mission had to cut their Men's Shelter occupancy nearly in half because of a fire code violation.

Now the Arizona Attorney General's Office is providing a  $1 million gr ant to three local agencies to help tackle the issue of homelessness.

It's estimated that more than 1,700 people are homeless on any given night in Pima County. This gr ant will enable three agencies to work with families to get them back on their feet.

"I had to move my kids. I went to an apartment and within a couple months we got evicted from there. It's very depressing," Andrea Santa Cruz said.

Mother of five, Andrea Santa Cruz fell on hard times after a divorce. Suddenly, she was left to pay the bills and rent on her own. Facing eviction again last week, she reached out to Interfaith Community Services for help.

"They didn't make me feel like I was at the bottom of the bucket. They encouraged me," Santa Cruz said.

Santa Cruz is not alone, each day Interfaith is flooded with calls from people in similar, critical situations.

"We have hundreds of people that call in, literally every day for financial assistance with rent, utilities – meeting their basic needs," Chief Executive Officer of Interfaith Community Services, Daniel Stoltzfus said.

In addition to Interfaith, Catholic Community Services, and the Primavera Foundation will also receive a portion of the gr ant money from the Arizona Attorney General's Office over the next two years.

With many of the local homeless shelters at capacity each night, Interfaith said the funding will help boost their ability to provide job assistance for people in hopes of stopping homelessness before it starts.

"We have a job resource center they can come to, we offer budget and financial literacy classes – different tools to help people," Stoltzfus said.

Santa Cruz plans to attend Interfaith's financial program class next week to get help applying for jobs.

"I don't really think there's anything that I can do to repay what they've done for me. I'm grateful," Santa Cruz said.

Interfaith said the million-dollar gr ant funding will help support 1,500 individuals or households in the community.

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