Pinnacle Award with Kathleen Eriksen by Life Along The Streetcar published on 2018-11-17T18:33:30Z "Need A Home". Three words, nine letters and a transformative effort from the Downtown Tucson Partnership was underway. Current CEO, Kathleen Eriksen took the helm of DTP in 2016. For months she walked to her office, located across the street from Jacome Plaza. She saw, day after day, there were over 100 homeless individuals living in the park. Their encampment was so entrenched she felt it was restricting the thousands of local residents, students, and employees from enjoying the public space. Her dilemma, how to we return Jacome Plaza to true community gathering space, while providing the homeless with a solution beyond forcibly removing them. The plan turned out to be ingenious in its simplicity. DTP partnered with Old Pueblo Community Services, brought a table out to Jacome Plaza and put up a sign that said Need A Home? Within weeks this program, known as DTP Connects, started to place individuals into the existing housing options within Tucson. The statistics of the number of folks who have found temporary and permanent housing is staggering. The retention rate for these individuals is well into the 80% range and, to Kathleen's delight (seriously she gets goosebumps when she describes how well this program is working) Jacome Plaza is now, once again, a place for students to come on recess, business types to have informal meetings, and the general public to enjoy. DTP Connects was recognized by the International Downtown Association, the IDA, for its ingenuity and effectiveness. Recently, the staff and President of the Downtown Partnership went to the IDA conference in San Antonio to accept the Pinnacle Award. The annual recognition for great achievement and improvements to a downtown area. Considered to be the IDA's highest honor, it was a great moment for Tucson and Kathleen sat down with us to provide the whole story.