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Tucson Nonprofits Seek Solutions for Unhoused Populations

CIC hosting a Social Innovation Hackathon; La Frontera shares focus on behavior health, barriers, and building trust

a flyer for CIC Tucson's Social Innovation Hackathon shown during the evening broadcast for KGUN9 News

By Reyna Preciado, KGUN9

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — After the recent increase in homelessness seen in areas in South Tucson and the Southside, the conversation continues to show the reality of housing-related issues, but also the real work that’s being done.

La Frontera has been serving Tucson and South Tucson since 1968. Their focus started in behavioral health, but has now moved to a broader brand of “community problem-solving.” When it comes to homelessness, the nonprofit prioritizes behavioral health because it can be a huge barrier for getting into housing.

“Our outreach team goes out into the community and finds folks that are experiencing homelessness you know that we all see out there. Our outreach team is folks of lived experience because it helps them build rapport with them and getting those folks to trust them. It’s not easy to bring them in,” described Guillermo Andrade, Director of Housing Supportive Services, Veteran Supportive Services, and Homelessness.

La Frontera provides several services, including housing specifically for people with behavioral issues. The CEO Dan Ranieri said the nonprofit has their vision for future solutions. He considered the setbacks unhoused people face due to not having proper documentation and envisioned the big picture.

“The first thing we need is we need a transitional site and it needs to be large. But it’s to do the assessment, plug them into the services we need, get them their documentation, if they’re employable or trainable and want to work, we’ll get them trained and employed and then get them into permanent housing,” said Ranieri.

While La Frontera already has the vision, Community Investment Corporation hopes to continue the conversation with a Hackathon event to inspire more solutions.

“Sometimes we think that’s the best, people with new fresh eyes, people who are passionate about this, who see this as a problem that they want to get involved in solving, we think this is a way for people to do it. And they’ll also get to connect with the organizations that are already doing this work,” said Executive Director Danny Knee.

The Hackathon Event will be from 9:30 AM to 3 PM on Saturday, February 3rd at the University of Arizona FORGE.

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