• Increase font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Print
  • RSS
  • County bonds help with veteran housing complex expansion

    Dozens of U.S. veterans now have a place to call home following the dedication of an addition to the Esperanza en Escalante housing complex on Tucson’s southeast side, near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

    Pima County Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation provided $959,248 as part of the project. The funding, part of a bond package approved by County voters in 2004, helped cover the cost to build infrastructure improvements for the 44 new units, including plumbing and electrical, sidewalks, parking areas and a road around the perimeter of the complex.
    Veterans housing
    Esperanza en Escalante sits on 17 acres of land just east of D-M’s Wilmot gate, in Supervisor Ramón Valadez’s District. Valadez (pictured) attended the dedication of Esperanza en Escalante’s first apartments while serving in the Arizona Legislature in the late 1990s and has followed and championed its expansion ever since.

    “The bigger, the more important a project, the more necessary it is to form partnerships. We were glad to be able to step up through the 2004 bond program and put forward nearly a million dollars for the infrastructure here,” Valadez said at June 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We leveraged that money to nearly exceed a one-to-ten match of taxpayer money.”

    In all, more than 20 agencies from the public, private and non-profit sectors partnered on the project, including the developer Gorman & Co., the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Arizona Department of Housing and the City of Tucson.

    “I think everyone can agree that this project has been a great investment of our time and effort; a great investment of public funds both federal and local,” said Marcos Ysmael, Pima County’s Housing Program Manager.

    The new apartments feature modern, energy-efficient light fixtures and plumbing, in-house washers and dryers and layouts that make them more accessible to residents with disabilities or seniors with mobility issues such as wider doorways and lower countertops and cabinets.
    Ramon Valadez
    The men and women who live at Esperanza en Escalante call the place a blessing. After months or years of living in the constant state of stress and vigilance that comes with life on the streets, having somewhere to call their own allows them to finally let down their guard, relax and begin to address the issues that led to them becoming homeless in the first place.

    “You don’t have to worry about too much,” said Ken Heuck, a former National Guardsman who served in Iraq in 2007. “You have a roof over your head, so you’re not out in the heat having to worry about finding a place to cool off.”

    Most residents come to Esperanza en Escalante through referrals from the Homeless and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs at the Southern Arizona VA Hospital. The non-profit provides access to a range of support services including drug treatment and counseling for PTSD and other trauma-related issues as well as job training and continuing education.

    Esperanza en Escalante also helps with the day-to-day activities, providing a shuttle service to the VA, shopping and appointment. It also hosts a weekly visit from the Community Food Bank on site.

    Perhaps the most important benefit to the veterans at Esperanza en Escalante is living with other vets who have been homeless. It also gives residents a sense of community and a chance to interact with others with similar backgrounds and life experiences.
    Follow UsShare this page

    Communications Office

    130 W. Congress
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    (520) 724-9999

    Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - noon and 1 - 5 p.m., except on holidays.

    Department Home Page
    Department News
    Department Feedback Form
    Subscribe to Pima County FYI Newsletter
    Volunteer with Pima County