The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to contribute $1 million to the Emerge Center Against Domestic Violence for the planned renovation and expansion of its emergency shelter.
The county’s contribution is budgeted from federal coronavirus relief funds and is contingent on a matching million-dollar contribution from the City of Tucson.
The Emerge Center operates its shelter in partnership with local government and other community agencies to provide safe temporary housing to victims of domestic violence.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emerge operated a 51-bed communal living facility where residents shared bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and dining areas. Due to the difficulty of mitigating virus spread in such a facility, the center moved its residents to hotel rooms in July 2020 and discontinued the operation of its communal facility.
The renovated shelter will replace a number of its communal amenities with non-congregate ones. It will feature non-congregate rooms, each with its own bathroom and kitchenette, and will increase the shelter’s capacity from 51 residents to 84.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $3.5 million. In addition to the combined $2 million from the county and city, the Connie Hillman Family Foundation has pledged to provide $1 million, and the Emerge Center expects to raise the remaining $500,000 through community fundraising efforts.
Pima County’s $1 million investment in the Emerge Center represents a portion of the spending plan for American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund approved by the supervisors at its Aug. 10 meeting.
“Sadly, DV [domestic violence] takes the lives of far too many Pima County residents—our loved ones, friends, coworkers and neighbors—year after year,” said Pima County Behavioral Health Director Paula Perrera.
“The county’s partnership and investment in the renovation of Emerge’s emergency shelter into a non-congregate facility will result in systemic infrastructure improvements that will forever change the landscape of victim services in Pima County,” Perrera said.