Tucson Electric Power is helping to fight homelessness through financial support of Old Pueblo Community Services, which provides housing and counseling for homeless adults to become more self-sufficient.
Old Pueblo serves homeless veterans, adults released from prison and people living on the streets until they are able to overcome challenges that prevent them from reintegrating into the community. Many of them struggle with addiction, mental or physical disabilities, health issues, a lack of family support or the need for employment coaching and training.
“Homelessness is a complex problem that’s usually caused by a combination of circumstances,” said Katy Scoblink, Old Pueblo’s Director of Recovery Communities. “Most individuals don’t want to be homeless.”
The average annual cost to support a homeless person with services, such as police, counseling, medical care, food and shelter, can be up to $50,000, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Scoblink says TEP’s contribution of $12,500 is especially appreciated because of a decline in federal funding in recent years. “There is less and less grant money and government support available to cover our programming costs,” she said. “We’re very grateful for TEP’s support. Without this funding, it would be hard to do.”
This year, TEP plans to contribute more than $700,000 to local nonprofit groups that provide assistance to low-income communities – part of $1.6 million we donate annually to local charities. The funds come from corporate resources, not customers’ rates.
Old Pueblo has 11 housing properties in Tucson with 250 beds for transitional and “low-barrier” housing that accepts individuals as they with few conditional requirements, such as they must meet curfews, have jobs or be sober. Residents also can bring their spouse, child or a pet while they stay and work on achieving their goals for independence.
“We meet our clients’ needs wherever they may be on their journey,” Scoblink said. “They set their own goals and hopes for the future, and we provide them with a roof over their head and services that will help them achieve their goals.”
Richelle Tewes, a former homeless resident who was helped by Old Pueblo, says having a place to stay while she worked on her plan for independence helped her make a fresh start.
“When I came to Old Pueblo, I had just completed a three-month rehab program and was completely starting over,” she said. “I have had steady employment for about 10 weeks now, which helped me in getting a reliable vehicle and prepared me to move into my own apartment.”