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Old hotel turned into center for homeless

TUCSON – According to Pima County data from 2018, there are roughly 400 homeless people sleeping outside in Tucson and more than 1,000 others in local shelters.

A new facility is opening up that will help shelter some of them.

It is called the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity. The old Holiday Inn near Irvington and Palo Verde roads has been transformed into a one-stop-shop for homeless and low-income families.

“Well right now I’m at the Gospel Rescue Mission on Miracle Mile,” said Sarah Ruiz.

Ruiz struggled with drug abuse and put herself in the shelter to get help.

“Took me a couple months to realize that doing it on my own wasn’t going to help,” said Ruiz. “So I went and I just called and I kept calling and they gave me a bed.”

Now, Ruiz is one year clean and about to move into the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity.

The Center of Opportunity will help many others like Sarah. It opens in June and will provide more than 300 shelter beds and 1,000 meals a day.

Around 30 non-profits will be on location to provide services to the homeless.

“If you’re homeless or low income in Tucson, you can come to one place and get all those services you need,” said Victor Hightower with Gospel Rescue Mission. “Most homeless people walk about 10 miles a day and if you’ve ever taken the bus you know that to go to like El Rio to get a flu shot and DES to get food stamps, that’s like a day’s adventure. Well, all that will go away and you can get everything on location right here.”

Anyone can show up just to get services like a shower, clothing, or a flu shot, or shelter. They also offer long-term recovery programs, job training, and veteran services.

“El Rio will be here offering medical and dental care, there will be mental health care, a list of 30 different social service providers will be here to help people out,” said Hightower.

Eventually, there will be even more buildings on the property.

There is an open house on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone is welcome to walk through and see the facility before everyone moves in.

The address of the facility is 4550 S. Palo Verde Road.

Kendra Hall

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