Official Press releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 6, 2017
Gospel Rescue Mission will reduce the occupancy at its men’s shelter in South Tucson to 55 beds, effective Monday, March 6, at 9:00 am, in order to comply with National Fire Safety Code regulations.
The Men’s Shelter has 106 beds, which are always filled. In addition, on cold winter nights and during the Monsoon storms, anywhere from 10-30 men are placed on floor mattresses in the chapel area.
The City of South Tucson inspected the shelter on Monday, February 27th and measured the dorms for square footage. Later that day, the City informed the Mission that the bed count would need to be a maximum of 55 beds, based upon the National Fire Code standard of 1 person per 50 square feet. This decrease in beds will displace between 51 to 81 men per evening, depending on the time of year.
This major reduction will have a significant adverse effect on the total number of beds available city-wide for the homeless men in both Tucson and Pima County.
For about 3 decades, the Mission operated with 60 beds total. Then in 2004, the Mission asked the City of South Tucson for permission to expand the shelter by adding several dorm areas. Upon approval of 110 beds total from the City, Gospel Rescue Mission conducted a $300,000 expansion and remodel project, taking the bed count to the current 106 beds. However, to now comply with the National Fire Code, the Mission must reduce the beds to 55, an occupancy level not seen since the early 1970’s.
With the assistance of other community organizations that serve the homeless population, the Mission staff have worked diligently to get as many men as possible placed in other shelters and housing programs. However, not all men will have another place to go tonight.
The Gospel Rescue Mission Board of Directors has committed to looking for an alternative location for the men’s shelter that would allow between 150-200 beds. The Mission does not receive government funding, so the funding for such a facility would have to come from local donations.
PHOTO OP & CONTACT INFO
Interviews with staff and clients can be arranged. Please contact Victor Hightower 520-339-3479 to arrange a time to come to the Men’s shelter. A suggested prime time would be between 3:00-4:30 as men come to check in to the shelter, but will have to be denied entrance, as the beds are all taken. Also current residents could be interviewed for the impact they see this making and what it means to them to be at the Mission.