Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona (CPSA) for receiving a $446,000 competitively awarded grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide rental and other assistance to chronically homeless youth in Tucson. The grant, awarded under HUD’s Continuum of Care group of programs, is part of approximately $190 million awarded this week by the department to support 550 local projects that will offer housing and other support to nearly 20,000 homeless individuals and families.
The CPSA funds will cover rent and rental deposit costs at 22 units around the city for qualifying program applicants. CPSA will focus its outreach and assistance efforts on chronically homeless Tucsonans aged 18-24 who have mental, behavioral or substance abuse problems, and the program will include treatment and job assistance components when appropriate, according to information from the group.
“Leaving these young people on the street is unthinkable when we have the power to help them become contributing members of society,” Grijalva said. “Part of being a mature society is extending a hand to those in need, and I congratulate CPSA not only for winning this award but for extending that hand to Southern Arizona youth in difficult positions.”
The funds will cover rental assistance at studio or one-bedroom locations that meet HUD building codes. Applicants for assistance can choose an eligible location anywhere in the city.
According to a 2005 study in the Archives of General Psychiatry, nearly 3 million severely mentally ill people are crime victims each year in the United States. People with mental illness were eight times more likely to be robbed and 15 times more likely to be assaulted than the general population. Theft of property, which the study measured at 0.2 percent in the general population, happens to 21 percent of mentally ill persons, or 140 times as often. Even theft of minor items can increase anxiety and worsen psychiatric symptoms in the mentally ill, the researchers said.
“Getting these young people into safe, stable homes is a needed public service, not only for their own benefit but for the quality and stability of our neighborhoods all over Southern Arizona,” Grijalva said. “This kind of program helps everyone by reducing crime, getting young people the help they need, decreasing property vacancy and placing more potential employees in the job market. I thank CPSA for pursuing these funds and I look forward to following this effort’s progress.”