Dragonfly Village inspires hope for homeless/low income



A way out of homelessness and poverty was the message today at the grand opening of the Dragonfly Village and Community Center, 10496 E. Tanque  Verde Road in Tucson, east of Houghton Rd.  Described as a “majestic setting, Dragonfly Village is 30 furnished rental apartments in its own gated communities, utilities are included with studio, 1, 3, and 4 bedrooms. Subsidies & housing vouchers are welcome.”

These 30 units are intended for homeless and low income individuals and families, with leases for transitional stays of 12 months, then 6 months, for no more than 24 months total.

The facility (still in construction) is located on 4.5 acres on the south side of Tanque Verde Road just east of the Agua Caliente Wash, in a lovely, spacious setting. The grand opening, attended by over 60 people was held today for board members, donors, community partners, neighbors, etc. with speakers emphasizing Amity Foundation’s commitment to helping people move from “hopelessness” to “hope” through programs such as these, with quality, affordable rental housing.  Founder Naya Arbiter explained why the dragonfly was chosen for the logo because it is an ancient helpful creature, tied to the Spirit World of the Zuni Indians.

Rod Mullen, CEO of Amity Foundation spoke of how he lived for one year in Oakland, California observing poverty amongst the black community, which led him to today’s role at this project. Former Board member Prill Kuhn mentioned that funding for this complex came from the famous Deconcini family, the Udall family, and through donors from the East and West coasts as well as the Emerald Foundation, as also mentioned by board President Ray Clarke. Pima County Community Development and Housing also provided federal funds.

We took a tour of two units – a lovely large four bedroom/four bath house, and a smaller two bedroom/two bath home in circular designs around the large community room, which is intended to provide community resource assistance (i.e. with Tanque Verde  Elementary School), case management and child care.  The homes were immaculate and beautifully designed with tubs in each bathroom some skylights, quality furniture and accessories.

image of the 2 bed/2 bath  home on the tour today
image of the 2 bed/2 bath home on the tour today (from their Facebook page)

This is a beautiful alternative  for low income and homeless people in Tucson. It is only a bit far out east, with the nearest bus stop about 2 miles to the west.  Hopefully there will be convenient transportation to & from the bus stops, and or to other community resources (i.e shopping, agencies, schools).

Excellent article in today’s AZ Daily Star by columnist Tim Steller about this project and how it was built: http://tucson.com/news/local/column/steller-dragonfly-retreat-gives-homeless-roofs-services/article_e523200d-0f31-5850-8a5c-8289ee5b28f5.html

More info and how to apply for one of these units:  www.dragonflyvillage.org. Dragonfly Village is a “sober, smoke free, drug free and crime free community in sustainable environment. Pets are not permitted. Residents safety and security are absolutely paramount”.  (This is very important for families in domestic violence situations).

For Rental Information: Kim Fitch 520-382-0602, Sonia Valenzuela 520-398-5057

For Community Collaborations: Center Director Robert Cannon 520-628-3164

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


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