Campaign Case Statement

A $6.8 million Project of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona to provide a Place of Love & Healing for Men and Women Experiencing Homelessness

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona (CCS) strengthens children, adults, families, and communities by providing help, creating hope, and serving all. CCS is seeking support for the construction of Tucson's first and only Medical Respite Center to provide men and women experiencing homelessness with a safe and supportive place to heal and recover from injury or illness.

Local data shows the number of Tucson residents experiencing homelessness who have acute or chronic illnesses continues to increase every year. As a result, it is estimated that each year over 1,500 men and women would benefit from residential medical care in Tucson. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, there are 120 medical respite programs in the United States - including one in Phoenix, However, southern Arizona has no adequate response to the post-discharge medical needs of those who are experiencing homelessness but do not require a hospital stay. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that in 2020 alone 175 people experiencing homelessness died because they were disconnected from needed medical care. These preventable deaths will continue without a safe place for people to receive treatment and fully recover.

Tucson's Medical Respite Center will care for patients with the most complex needs, who are best served in a facility with access to 24-hour care and support. During a typical 45-day stay, patients will have access to medical providers, radiology, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral health services, safe shelter, food, clothing, supportive services to encourage recovery, and care partners who will ensure patients receive the benefits for which they are eligible. The center will be located on the new Center of Opportunity campus, a multi-partner effort to provide holistic homeless services at one convenient location.

Plans for CCS' 15,000-square-foot facility include housing for 10 women and 36 men in a double room setting, two private rooms for palliative care and additional rooms for private care. The common area will include a small group therapy space, large activity areas, dining areas, outside space, a serving kitchen, and an interfaith chapel/quiet room for worship services and meetings. Because maintaining relationships with pets is important to health and healing, the center will also have a pet play area to accommodate patient's pets. Additional spaces include staff areas, storage, showers, and laundry. (Please see Exhibits 1-3 for renderings of the Medical Respite Center.)

By building a Medical Respite Center in Tucson, CCS will provide an underserved and vulnerable population a place for more rapid healing and recovery; the center will reduce their use of 911, emergency room, and other critical community services; and will provide needed care in a respectful, safe, and clean setting. In addition to high-quality medical and behavioral health care, patients will receive the supportive services necessary to successfully transition to permanent housing upon discharge. We anticipate 94% of patients will experience improved physical and/or behavioral health; 85% will be discharged to affordable, permanent housing; local hospital readmission rates will be reduced by 40%, and recidivism rates among patients exiting from medical units in jails will decrease by 30%.

The patients served in medical respite are individuals who have high acuity medical conditions such as septicemia, pneumonia, cellulitis, abscess, wounds, lacerations, respiratory, and coronary problems. The gap in community services for this vulnerable population was identified through a community needs assessment originally conducted by CCS in 2018 and updated by CCS in 2021 to include the effects of Covid-19 on Tucson's homeless population.

Gifts, grants and pledge commitments to the project have brought us within the final $1 million needed for our $6.8 million construction goal. The Campaign for Tucson's Medical Respite Center was announced at a public kick-off held at the Jewish Community Center in the fall of 2019, but due to Covid restrictions, the Board of Directors of CCS, acting out of an abundance of caution, voted to pause the campaign and instead focus on emergency relief for the thousands of people impacted by the Covid Pandemic, In March, 2022 the campaign restarted and in May a Groundbreaking and Blessing Ceremony brought over 100 friends and supporters together on the site at the Center of Opportunity campus. Construction began in September, and preliminary plans are to host supporters for a ribbon cutting in November 2023.

Some of the current funders include Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation, St. Joseph Catholic Healthcare Endowment Fund, Chouinard Charitable Trust, United Healthcare Services, Connie Hillman Foundation, Southwest Catholic Health Network, O'Rielly Family Foundation, Del E. Webb Foundation, William and Mary Ross Foundation, Margaret E. Mooney Foundation, PetSmart Charities, Union Pacific, Raskob Foundation, the Sundt Foundation, and Mr. Humberto Lopez (the Founder of the Center of Opportunity who provided a lease for the site on that campus). Board members, families, additional corporations and foundations, and those who wish to remain anonymous have also helped the project.

Many naming opportunities are still available, and we have begun raising funds for our start-up operations and for endowments to support the program and facility maintenance in perpetuity. We welcome and invite you to help us on this journey to build our new Center with a gift or pledge

Exhibit 1: Building Exterior

Front - New

Exhibit 2: 1st Floor

Floor Plan 1

Exhibit 3: 2nd Floor

Floor Plan 2