Tucson program works to end homelessness for young adults

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Unless homelessness is tackled at a young age, it can become a lifelong problem.

Young adults, who often do not earn enough money to live on their own, frequently fall through the cracks and end up living on the streets.

The association “I am you 360” working to change that, one person at a time.

“Their homes had become toxic places and they had to leave,” said Desiree Cook, Founder and CEO of I Am You 360.

Some of the young people find themselves without the skills they need to survive on their own.

“You need help, everyone needs help and it’s good that I’m starting to realize this,” said Baneen Albotaify, 23, who came from Iraq to the United States at the age 14. “For a very long time, I made it difficult for myself trying to do it on my own.”

It was because she didn’t feel that she had a choice. Once she found this program, it opened her eyes.

She has a year and a half before obtaining a college diploma in construction management and the required skills that go with it.

I Am You 360 has 10 small units donated by a local businessman near Grant and Oracle where a group of young adults live while they learn life skills.

It’s not free. They pay $ 350 a month and they have to work and have an income.

“We help them develop and gain self-confidence. It’s huge for their decision making and then adding the life skills element to it is really important, ”Cook said. “This is how we break generational cycles.

On Saturday, the nonprofit invited the Tucson Police Department, the Tucson Fire Department, the DEA and others for a barbecue, which included burgers and a potato salad.

They chatted with the young adults, played card games and bragged about the quality of the program.

“I didn’t know it was here,” said an officer. “It’s awesome, it’s awesome.”

The program is very popular, but it is not close enough. It has a waiting list of 125 although it is unveiling a new community of nine cottages next week.

It is still very short, but it is progress towards its goal.

“The ultimate goal is to help them buy their home,” Cook said.

It is a two to three year program for those accepted, who must go through a 10 page questionnaire.

“The bottom line is for them to save and have enough to buy their first home to really end homelessness,” Cook said.

If you want more information about this group or if you want to help, click on HERE.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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