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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Miguel Hidalgo, The Virgen of Guadalupe, and Mexico’s Day of Independence

6 min read September 16th marks the anniversary of Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain. Although many in the United States might be unfamiliar with this date, the opposite is true across the US-Mexico borderlands. Tucson, itself once a part of Mexico, has a long history of celebrating Mexican Independence Day throughout the decades with fireworks, fiestas, parades, and lots of good food and music. Tucson’s first non-native settlers were Spanish soldiers and Franciscan missionaries. Originally a presidio on the frontier of New Spain, Tucson established itself as a Mexican community before the arrival of Anglo settlers.  Soldiers, farmers, desert-dwellers, northernmost defenders of

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Pushing for Rent Control in Arizona

7 min read Many cities are looking at rent control as a viable solution to the obscene cost of living and the growing wealth gap that is tormenting working-class people across the United States. Even Tucsonans are seeing rents rise all over the Old Pueblo. Up to a criminal 50% in some cases. Stories circulate of people being displaced and it’s evident on the streets. Homeless camps are emerging and spreading like wildfire.  The blatant lack of affordable housing is increasing the state’s homeless population and leaving countless unsure of how they will make ends meet in the next months. Many Arizona politicians

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Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s True Legacy and the Lessons He Taught Us

8 min read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remains one of the most prominent icons of American history. Since his death, he’s been canonized as the embodiment of justice and peace in the United States. He is taught in our schools as a leader of the Civil Rights movement and is celebrated every January with a national holiday in his name. Although this recognition is well deserved, it’s important to remember how King was actually treated while he was alive. As well as how he has been sanitized after his death to fit a national delusion of progress and “color-blindness” that works to

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Arizona Tenants’ Rights

< 1 min read Know your rights! In Arizona, there are specific laws that provide protection for tenants. Being informed when you are a renter allows you to know your rights and stand up for yourself when necessary. Visit our website to get a detailed guideline of your rights as a tenant.

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2021 Homeless Stats in Arizona: A Grim Reality

2 min read As we reflect on the past year, let us not forget about the extremely difficult times many people are going through due to the pandemic and a growing housing crisis. We are witnessing more and more people living on the streets, and it shouldn’t be something we turn our head away from and try to ignore. This is clearly a systemic problem and not a problem rooted in individual choice, and solutions to house the most vulnerable people in our society do exist. The following are some statistics we’ve gathered about the grim reality of homelessness in our state right

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Advent 2021

< 1 min read Dear friends of Casa Maria, Thanks for all your past and current support. Several hundred people, including many families, still come here every morning for life-sustaining food. The soup we make is especially famous on the street. We continue to struggle to defend our barrio, aka The City of South Tucson aka Barrio Libre. Gentrification has morphed into the local and national Housing Crisis. Investors are snapping up every available property turning them into rentals and raising the rents big-time. This is creating massive uncertainty, desperation and suffering for many families already on the brink of being displaced. A house

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Fighting for Justice, Liberty, & Peace in Barrio Libre