Pima County receives a $1.3 million to help house the homeless (Tuscon News Now)

By Cynthia Washington, Multimedia Journalist

Pima County has received a $1.3 million grant to help the homeless.

The “Pay For Success” project is aimed at finding alternative housing for people who cycle through the jail and/or need assistance with substance abuse and mental disorders.

According to officials with the Pima County Adult Detention Center, 517 homeless individuals were booked into the jail more than once in 2014.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said many homeless people commit small crimes in order to get three meals and a place to sleep at the Pima County Jail.

Huckelberry is hoping to put an end to it since it is costing taxpayers money.

“Taxpayers pay the full cost of all these things. They pay the full cost of homeless programs, they pay the full cost of jail and what we are trying to do is more efficiently use tax payers money,” he said.

Instead, the county is researching changes they can make to current homeless programs and shelters to make the homeless more productive members of society.

Huckelberry said housing the homeless in the jail just isn’t something that can keep happening.

“It is a very costly environment to be in a jail, because of the jail, and other things that occur, so we [would] much rather conserve our bed space for people who are violent and dangerous to society,” he said.

This is a four-year project and the county is still in the early stages.

He said instead of separating men and women, they are researching the effects of having shelters geared toward couples or even families.

He hopes to have more specifics on details of this project later this year.

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