Homeless people recovering from hospitalizations now have a temporary home to heal in.

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona (CCS) cut the ribbon to respite center Casa de Respiro Tuesday morning in the attendance of partners and donors.

It’s a project 15 years in the making and once postponed because of the pandemic. But the wait was worth it after raising over $5 million and securing a 100-year lease.

It just shows what were able to accomplish when the community gathers around an issue thats important to them, shared CEO of CCS Elena Dwyre.

Casa can hold up to 48 people at one time, and the organization projects it can help at least 500 people each year.

They will have a place to go and continue with treatment,” Dwyre explained. “Theyre not going to be discharged back to the streets or to other shelters that are not equipped to provide the medical care that they need.

CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona (which donated $500,000 to the project) Jean Kalbacher says the center will help reduce the revolving door patients who don’t have the means to continue the right aftercare due to their homelessness.

Its going to have a great impact, not only on respect and dignity for those individuals, but its also going to have a very very positive impact to the financial outcomes for the medical system as well,” she expressed.

The building is also within walking distance of Gospel Rescue Mission which is providing meals on top of the 1,000 it already produces on a daily basis and El Rio Health Center for additional medical services.

Donors like Kalbacher say Casa de Respiro expands beyond healthcare it help people feel “whole.”

Having a home is a great place to start. You can recover from your medical event and then work with people,” she said. “How do we find you more permanent housing? How do we help you get a job? How do we help you get clothes?

And dogs are welcome too because CCS team says they know that pets are sometimes the only thing people have to call their own.

Dwyre asked, Why would we ask them to give up what comforts them?”

CCS projects Casa de Respiro will take in tenants by spring of 2024.