The purpose of the Tucson Homeless Work Program (THWP) is to give people experiencing homelessness a pathway out of homelessness through work, community collaboration and navigation of existing housing, health care and employment services.
THWP is not a government program. It is a true collaboration of various groups and organizations involved in the day-to-day operation, including: Old Pueblo Community Services, Assurance Health and Wellness Center, Caridad Community Kitchen, Catholic Community Services, Cenpatico Integrated Care, El Rio Community Health Center, Primavera, Salvation Army, and St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.
The Tucson Homeless Work Program was born out of community conversations on homelessness led by Councilmember Richard Fimbres of Ward 5. Modeled after a similar program in Albuquerque, startup funding was provided by Pima County and the City of Tucson and matched by HSL Properties. Additional funding has since been provided by Cox Communications, Southwest Gas, Tucson Medical Center and Walmart.
Workdays: Tuesday and Thursday each week; 5 hours of work at $10 per hour.
Pickup Locations: Salvation Army and Primavera shelters – Workers are delivered back to the shelter at the end of the day.
Transportation: A passenger van provided by Assurance Health and Wellness Center is equipped with a trailer, tool storage and portable toilet for this program.
Food: A sack lunch is provided by Caridad Community Kitchen and additional food is provided by St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at the end of each workday.
Staff: A Driver/Site Supervisor provides orientation for daily workers, monitors work and assists as needed. A Navigator from Catholic Community Services is on site to provide resources and immediate connection to/enrollment in AHCCCS, food stamps, employment services and housing, etc. as requested.
Medical Screening: El Rio Community Health Center staff conducts medical screenings at shelter locations on Mondays and Wednesdays to identify, assess and clear six (6) persons who are physically able and interested in working the following day.
Work Tasks: Tasks do not require any specialized training or use of hazardous equipment or materials. Work assignments are provided by the City of Tucson and Pima County and include collecting litter, clearing dead brush and grasses, maintenance of traffic circles, roadways and designated city park areas.
Engagement in Housing and Services: At the end of each day, workers are returned to the shelter where they have access to showers, clothing, haircuts and a hot meal.