On May 17, I attended the dedication ceremony for the new H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity, to be run by Gospel Rescue Mission. It will be a one-stop source of shelter and services for the homeless and needy of Tucson. The idea behind the center is to provide the needy with all services they will need to get back on their feet while they are “home.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and Humberto and Czarina Lopez were some of the guest speakers at the ceremony. I had a chance to interview some of them, including the governor.
This new center is critical for local children in need. According to Gov. Ducey, “Centers like this are critical because there’s people in need. Often times they have children and a place like this not only provides shelter, but it’s safe and provides nutrition and allows their parents to find the right way to get the help they need and deserve.” He mentioned that the center will provide individuals with physical, mental, and spiritual resources all in one building. He hopes that the center will be a model for others going forward to help the needy in our community and in our country.
Gospel Rescue Mission, which will operate the Center of Opportunity, is a Christian ministry for the homeless founded in 1953. According to incoming Executive Director for the Center of Opportunity Lisa Chastain (granddaughter of original GRM founder Ray Chastain), “We are in the business of changing lives... this is a solution to the community.” The H.S. Lopez Family Foundation bought the 70,000-square foot former Holiday Inn building and is leasing it to Gospel Rescue Mission for $1 ayear for 99 years. I toured the facility and it was impressive.
The Lopez family has been longtime supporters of Gospel Rescue Mission and felt they were an obvious partner in this new project to help Tucson’s homeless. Humberto Lopez is the founder of the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation, which is owned by him and his wife, Czarina. Lopez was very poor as a child and was aided by welfare. When he was young, he worked really hard but had trouble until people helped him and his family. Now, he feels an obligation to help care for people in need. According to Lopez, “I had a vision...pay it forward by helping others as I was once helped.” Mrs. Lopez also feels proud about helping and was happy for this opportunity to aid so many people in need.
When the Center of Opportunity is complete, it will have 300 shelter beds, 51 rooms to house GRM’s Men’s Addiction Recovery Center, an emergency shelter for women and children, access to many service programs, and a full kitchen capable of cooking 1,000 meals per day! It will be a big help in getting people in need back on their feet. The center is scheduled to open June 3.