The City of Tucson is discussing the Ocotillo Apartments and Hotel after code enforcement officials condemned the property on Friday, forcing hundreds of residents out.

Quick Timeline:

Last Thursday, the City of Tucson discovered fuses and power systems were tampered with. The property was condemned for having no electricity or fire safety prevention systems. On Friday, the property was cleared. Come Tuesday, camps were set up around the property.

Community Bridges Inc. (CBI) members, city officials, plus many other state and local partners gathered Monday, joining forces to prepare a mass eviction of up to 200 people.

To look at this place, again, Im surprised its still standing,” former resident James Brown confessed.

He visited the property at East Benson Highway, east of South Park Avenue for the first time since he left Thursday, right before the apartments were officially condemned.

Brown is a veteran and previously had a bed at the property, secured through the CBI.

They told me, Dont you worry Mr. Brown, were going to take care of you. And they did just that,” he revealed.

They continued to provide resources as the apartments continued to attempt evictions of residents with the sober-living program called Happy Times and New Directions. The fraudulent sober-living programs which stopped payments to the apartments for their clients, victims and residents there.

Brown was one of the victims under New Directions. After giving his AHCCCS insurance information, he says he never received more than housing and a couple light meals a day.

If we were going into a program, Im sorry to say about AHCCCS, but I dont know how they didnt ever monitor it,” Brown said. “Because no one had one piece of paper to show they advanced in any type of way.

AHCCCS Insurance stated in response to the situation:

As soon as AHCCCS became aware of the possibility that enrolled members were impacted by the closure of a sober living home at the Ocotillo Hotel & Apartments, our care management team was dispatched to work on-site with the City of Tucson. ….This situation demonstrates the lengths bad actors will go to exploit the states Medicaid program, defraud taxpayers, and endanger our communities.

Mayor Regina Romero and the City of Tucson Council addressed the issue Tuesday, including why the property was condemned:

On September 27, heavy vandalism occurred at the location. The property owners were issued a notice to institute a firewatch because all fire extinguishers and fire alarms were destroyed. This incident is still under investigation.

The City of Tucson says it is continuing to work with residents to help them find housing and any necessary resources.

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