Paul's Note - August 26, 2022

Sometimes individuals in our community have needs and challenges that our various departments and agencies are just not well suited to addressing.  Sometimes an individual might have problems that require the assistance of multiple agencies or departments. Sometimes an individual just needs a little bit more focused care than others.  That’s where our new Community Safety, Health and Wellness team comes in.  The CSHW program was launched in 2021 and it coordinates with pre-existing teams who specialize in meeting the needs of community members experiencing behavioral health crises and houselessness.  

The newest Community Safety, Health & Wellness Program team was recently introduced.  The Care Coordination Team can assist Tucson residents with navigating the following service areas: 

  • Food security 

  • Public benefits enrollments/Utility assistance/SSI/SSDI, Social Security 

  • Medical care 

  • Behavioral Health care and wellness supports 

  • Addiction/Subsistence Use/recovery care 

  • Financial wellness and income analysis (addressing medical and other debt) 

  • Social supports and community connectivity 

  • Head Sstart/childcare 

  • Workforce development/vocational training/job application support 

  • Housing stability supports 

  • Youth support 

  • Referral to Coordinated Entry for emergency shelter 

  • Accompaniment/advocacy as needed 

My office has been briefed on the mission of the team. Their work has been helpful to us at the office and we’ve also tapped into their expertise for other issues we deal with. 

A Ward 2 resident, who we will call Allen to protect his privacy, is a high utilizer of the 911 call center. A care coordinator reached out to him to see if he might benefit from some additional support. He shared that he calls 911 when he feels unstable or suicidal.  

Allen is relatively new to Tucson and still getting a sense of the area. He is a disabled Army Veteran who is engaged with care through the VA. He's been waiting to see a VA counselor for support with his anxiety and depression. The care coordinator was able to help him learn of additional options for behavioral health supports in Tucson, including how to access the local crisis line (520-622-6000 is still the best option).  

Allen is continuing to work with the VA and has reached out to some other nearby behavioral health organizations. Importantly, he has some additional avenues that are immediately available for accessing support. 

On Wednesday, my staff had to call the Constables’ office to help on a constituent concern. The constituents, a veteran and his girlfriend, were in a very confusing and frustrating situation. The constituents got the help they needed, and were treated with kindness and respect. 

Then came the news yesterday of one that one of our constables, Deborah Martinez-Garibay, was killed. 

Constables deal with citizens in some of their worst moments. Even though they are elected officials, we often don’t pay a lot of attention to the work they do. Their work has become more difficult during the current eviction crisis. 

Constable Martinez-Garibay was an Army veteran who strove to do her job with compassion. My condolences to her family and colleagues.