Voces de Casa Maria

Tim Steller’s column: PCC board deserves flexibility on preserving old Tucson motels

< 1 min read “Go up and down Tucson’s old tourist strip, and you’ll catch intriguing glimpses of the city’s past. Old motor courts, symbols of a new way to travel when they were built in the mid-1900s, line old U.S. Highway 80. You can follow them along East Benson Highway, South Sixth Avenue, North Stone Avenue, West Drachman Street, North Oracle Road and West Miracle Mile. Some are still functioning as motels, mostly low-end operations. Of course people want to preserve these old places, especially the cool signs. Preservationists crowded a Pima Community College board meeting May 22 to insist that the board

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Casa Maria Soup Kitchen buys South Tucson motel for affordable housing

< 1 min read “A group that’s been helping the homeless for decades is trying something new to get at one of the root causes of homelessness. Casa Maria has purchased the former El Camino Motel on East Benson Highway to turn it into affordable housing. The El Camino Motel will have 20 units and the average monthly rent will be $600-700. Right now, there are no plans to kick out anyone currently staying at the motel. There will also be a couple of vacant rooms each night, for those who just need a temporary place to stay. “We’re trying to buy places where

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Casa Maria turns El Camino Motel into affordable housing complex

< 1 min read “A well-known soup kitchen in Southern Arizona, Casa Maria, is entering the housing market. “Casa Maria launched a campaign to try to raise $7 million for 365 units of affordable housing in the city of South Tucson,” says Roxanna Valenzuela, Casa Maria’s Community Organizer. In that effort, Casa Maria purchased El Camino Motel, located off 4th Avenue and I-10 Frontage Road, with plans to turn it into an affordable housing complex.”\ From KGUN9 Article

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Barrio Neighborhood Coalition: Letter to Mayor & Council Addressing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

3 min read To: City of Tucson Planning Commission Daniel Bursuck, Planning and Development Services Regina Romero, Mayor Lane Santa Cruz, Ward 1 Councilperson Paul Cunningham, Ward 2 Councilperson Karin Uhlich, Ward 3 Councilperson Nikki Lee, Ward 4 Councilperson Richard Fimbres, Ward 5 Councilperson Steve Kozachik, Ward 6 Councilperson Michael Ortega, City Manager   From: Barrio Neighborhood Coalition   The Barrio Neighborhood Coalition (BNC) has been working tirelessly since 2018 to stress to Mayor and Council and City Staff just how important the issues of gentrification, displacement and housing affordability are.  Through our efforts, there is now a Commission on Equitable Housing and

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St Mark in Oro Valley is not only beautiful on the outside, it’s comprised of beautiful servants of God.

< 1 min read Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Mark the Evangelist parish had a “sandwich squad” that met on the fourth Saturday of every month to make 200 bag lunches that they would deliver to Casa Maria for distribution to the needy.  In addition, St. Mark parishioners would also volunteer at Casa Maria on the 4th Tuesday of the month and the Knights of Columbus would do the same every other month. When the pandemic hit, Fr. John Arnold (pastor at St. Mark) and Paul Guertin visited Brian Flagg to assess the situation at Casa Maria and find out how we could

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No Means No!

10 min read by Gene Martinez This is a story that belongs to the women of this community. As men we have a responsibility to use our privilege to show up and support women instead of continuing to dismiss and silence them. I have spoken to several women of the community and have received their consent to present their stories.  I write this in order to provide a voice for the women who are not heard. Since early June, young women in Tucson have been speaking out about sexual violence on Twitter. While some users have been sharing their personal stories, others have

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Voting is Part of the Revolution

4 min read by Citlali Ramirez Within the past four years, and especially within the past month, the United States has experienced a massive wave of political involvement and education. People are engaging in conversations about police and prison abolition, about systems of government oppression, and a large scope of topics that often go unmentioned. This leaves a lot of revolutionary voters questioning their role in the political spectrum if the same government you are a part of is and has always been working exclusively for the elite. In terms of the presidential election, it can feel very disheartening for leftist political revolutionaries.

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The Revolution will not come out of a City Committee

4 min read by Brian Flagg Now is the time for significant change! Something is in the air! People are in the streets demanding resources be re-directed to serving our very basic needs – such as housing! Gentrification perpetuates systemic racism and over policing in cities. We, who are trying to struggle against the gentrification of our barrios, need to seize this moment! It is time that we demand and fight for something substantial and real such as a moratorium on GLPETs (tax payer giveaways that fuel gentrification) by the city of Tucson and the City of South Tucson. I and we have

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RIP Pastora Enma

< 1 min read Last night we lost a spiritual giant, a powerful leader, and a dedicated Casa Maria volunteer, Enma Orellan (La Pastora) due to COVID-19. We are deeply saddened by her passing and would like to commemorate her memory. She was the director of the Salvation Army Youth Center almost next door to Casa Maria for many years. Dedicating her life to the service of others, even in her last days she displayed selflessness and valor by delivering food to those in need. In the words of her daughter Glenda, “My mom has been promoted to the glory of God” We will

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A city’s budget can tell you exactly where the city’s moral compass lies!

4 min read   by Cesar Aguirre    Casa Maria and Catholic Workers have always been anti-war. Some  of my favorite stories to hear Brian talk about are the protests against war and nuclear weapons. Stories of him and others camping at Davis Monthan Air Force Base for more than five months. Or of Dorothy Day and other Catholic Workers throwing blood on bombs.      It is our duty, not only as Catholics but also as decent human beings, to speak out against all destruction of life. War and the militarization of our police force is exactly that, the destruction of life.   

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Fighting for Justice, Liberty, & Peace in Barrio Libre