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Tucson rolls out resource number for homeless people, advocates

Tucson rolls out resource number for homeless people, advocates

Tucson has created a 24/7 telephone line for those facing homelessness, to provide information about available programs, such as shelters, food banks, mental health and medical assistance and more.

The telephone line, 520-791-2540, is more than a tool for those facing homelessness firsthand, said Brandi Champion, the city’s Housing First program director.

“This is a great resource for those assisting someone who needs help connect to resources they may not otherwise hear or know about,” Champion said in a news release Tuesday. 

The program will also provide help for those who may soon become homeless.

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

Mayor Regina Romero and the City Council tasked the Department of Housing and Community Development with setting up the line, which was made available starting June 1, "in response to the needs of unsheltered persons," the news release said.

Portillo said the line is another way the city is addressing homelessness, adding to other efforts like the Tucson Police Department Homeless Outreach Team.

“It’s just another layer to the multilayer approach that the city has taken regarding unsheltered individuals,” he told the Tucson Sentinel.

Department of Transportation and Mobility employees, who are already available day and night to respond to traffic issues, will answer calls to the line. The tool will likely be permanent, Portillo said.

The mayor and Council deserve credit for an additional resource that reflects Tucson's values, Housing Director Liz Morales said in the release.

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

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