Governor Hobbs Honors City of Tucson Housing First Employee

Published on March 06, 2024

Jeanette Garment at the Arizona State Capitol.

Jeannette Garment, a member of the City of Tucson’s Housing First team who had previously experienced an unsheltered life, was honored yesterday by Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs for Garment’s work with homeless individuals and her personal resilience.

Hobbs recognized Jeannette in the governor's office, a week after the Arizona Housing Coalition presented Jeannette with its “Outstanding Achievement in Overcoming Homelessness” award at the group’s annual conference in Mesa on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

"It was quite a surprise to get the invitation. I've never really won any awards for anything," said Garment who works at the Wildcat Inn on North Oracle Road, a shelter operated by Housing and Community Development (HCD).

In her nomination for the award, Allison Chappell, a Community Services Manager at the Wildcat Inn, wrote that Garment moved to Wildcat in April 2022 after the sudden closure of her sober living house. Garment had been sobered for five months and feared homelessness would lead to relapse. During her time at Wildcat Inn, she thrived, wrote Chappell.

In September 2022, Garment took a temporary job with the City of Tucson at the No-Tel Shelter on North Oracle Road. (HCD is converting the former motel into residences for older Tucsonans). By March 2023, she secured her own apartment, and in May 2023, she became a full-time Housing Services Agent with HCD's Housing First division.

In November, Garment celebrated two years of sobriety. “She has also rekindled her passion for training and riding horses. Jeannette is a highly valued employee, peer, and friend to all she meets,” Chappell wrote.

Garment said her recognition is a reflection of the challenges that many people like herself who led unsheltered lives and overcame substantial obstacles. It requires tremendous personal strength and community support.

She counsels Wildcat Inn residents "to be able advocate for yourself and not be afraid to ask for help where it is being offered."

In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star in July 2022, Garment said she was skeptical when Housing First staffers approached her about moving to the inn. But they overcame her skepticism. "It's not empty promises," she told the reporter. "I really love the staff here and they've been extremely helpful with paperwork, and they'll help with going to court and be an advocate there."

Since February 2022 when the Wildcat Inn opened, 347 individuals have found housing after living at the city-owned shelter.

The City of Tucson’s Housing First program operates street outreach, housing navigation, emergency shelter, and permanent supportive housing for 1,000 plus Tucsonans each year. All services provided by the Housing First Program are low-barrier and center permanent housing solutions as the primary goal of services.