“Given the opportunity, everyone can reach their fullest potential,” Governor Ducey stated at the grand opening of the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity last week. The center, a state-of-the-art homeless shelter for Tucson’s men, women, and children, will allow its residents to do just that.
The Center of Opportunity features 150 emergency shelter beds, a full-service kitchen capable of 3,000 meals a day, a dining area, and a community space. And on top of that, the center also has specialized centers like a dental clinic, medical clinic, workforce development center, theater, classroom co-working space, and more. The list of amenities seems endless.
“It’s going to have a big impact. First of all, these people are going to be able to get all these services in one place. There’s nothing like this in Tucson; this is the first program of this nature,” Lopez said. “We’re also trying to make this a model for the nation. If you had the chance to see it in person, it would blow you away; it’s like nothing you’ve seen in a homeless shelter.”
Lopez highlights the workforce development center as one of the most important features of the center. The center will help dress residents in formal attire, assist them with interviews, and guide them through the entire job-hunting process. He notes that some potential jobs include electricians, plumbing, carpenters, and culinary specialists.
On January 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took a Point-in-Time count of the homeless population in Pima County. That night, they recorded 1,380 people experiencing literal homelessness.
It is Lopez’s goal to reduce that number, not only by providing shelter for homeless people, but also providing them with resources to succeed. He aspires to get people back on their feet and into their own homes.
“Everyone’s story is different, but our hope is the Center will give new beginnings to those in our community who need that extra help,” Lopez said. “Things many take for granted like food, shelter, jobs, healthcare and even a helping hand in a time of need, that is what they will find here all in one campus. A chance to rebuild their lives and look toward a brighter future.”