Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona Receives $5 Million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant to Help End Homelessness for Families

by Desert Lab Studio | Nov 22, 2022


Marguerite "Peg" Harmon, CEO
(520) 670-0802

Joe Leisz, Director of Development
(520) 670-0809

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona Receives $5 Million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant to Help End Homelessness for Families

Fund grants $123.45 million to 40 nonprofits across the U.S. to move the needle on re-housing and supporting families experiencing homelessness

TUCSON, Ariz. - (November 22, 2022): Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona - which works across nine counties in the state to provide lifesaving short-term shelter, referrals for medical services and trauma-informed care to unsheltered families escaping violence and poverty - today announced that it has received a $5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to leading organizations on the frontlines that are employing compassionate, needle-moving work to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing with the services they require to achieve stability.

"Our goal has always been to answer the call that others may not hear and provide services to the most vulnerable members of our communities that are not available anywhere else," said Marguerite D. "Peg" Harmon, M.S., chief executive officer of the organization. "We are beyond grateful to be recognized for our work and to be able to put this generous gift toward the goal of helping the families and individuals from diverse backgrounds under our care achieve a life of dignity. With this grant, we will have the opportunity to reach deeper into communities across Southern Arizona and forge even stronger bonds with our community partners to alleviate homelessness, help individuals heal from trauma and provide hope to so many families."

This one-time grant will help Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona in its tireless work to support families as they reel from skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes. The organization plans to use the grant funds to significantly scale up its existing programs and expand its capacity and reach. The organization intends for the grant to go toward the construction of new housing units for families and the expansion of comprehensive wraparound programs - ranging from financial assistance and advising to childcare and after-school programming. It also plans to conduct more outreach and services in rural and native communities in Arizona where the need is great and community resources are currently lacking.

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision. National advisors brought expertise on housing justice, advancing racial equity and helping programs employ resources effectively to assist families out of homelessness.

Over the past five years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 170 grants totaling more than $520 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. This year, the Fund issued a total of $123.45 million in grants to the following organizations: Carpenter's Shelter; CATCH, Inc.; Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; The Center for Women and Families; Changing Homelessness; Chapman Partnership; Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County; Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.; Community Services & Employment Training (CSET); Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO); Family Promise of Hawai'i; Family Promise of Northern New Castle County; Family Services of Tulare County; Flagstaff Shelter Services; Gateway180; Heartland Alliance; H.O.M.E. Inc.; Homeless Alliance; Hope House of Milwaukee; Housing First, Inc.; Housing Forward; HRDC; Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Inc.; LA Family Housing; Mother Nation; Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Inc.; New Reach; Oglala Sioux Tribe; Partners for HOME; PATH; The Salvation Army, Denver Metro Area; Samish Indian Nation; San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness; Sojourner Truth House; Solo Por Hoy, Inc.; Start Corporation; Strategies to End Homelessness; The Wellspring; YWCA Cass Clay; and YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs.

“Tucson is host to one of the largest per-capita homeless populations in the country. While Tucson and Pima County’s overall population is only a quarter of Phoenix and Maricopa County’s, Pima’s homeless population is more than half the size of theirs. The complexity of the challenges faced by individuals and families in Southern Arizona demands comprehensive solutions and collaboration across communities,” said Joe Leisz, development director at Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. “We are excited to partner with community leaders and other organizations to see this important work continue at a greater scale than ever across Southern Arizona.”

The Bezos Day One Fund made a $2 billion commitment to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help families experiencing homelessness, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside. For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

About Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona
Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona has been providing help, creating hope and serving all since 1933. CCS reaches the most vulnerable in communities across nine counties in the state, providing access to the basic needs all individuals deserve. We answer the call that others may not hear and provide local services that are not available elsewhere. Driven by our shared, faithful values of love, hope and compassion, we extend support to every member of our community. While our services are many, one thread binds our work together: We help children, families, and individuals live with independence and dignity. Learn more at www.ccs-soaz.org.