Harm Reduction: Decriminalizing Homelessness

Are you homeless, living on the streets, camping in a park or alleyway, sleeping in a vehicle? Know your rights!

The Tucson Alliance for Housing Justice is organizing to stop the police sweeps of camps, to keep public bathrooms open, and advocates for safe use sites for people using drugs. 

If you are living outside and want to connect with a community of support to stop the police sweeps, text the Splinter Collective at 283-0127 (area code 520). 

You can also contact us using the form below, or check back here for upcoming events. 

The Splinter Collective hosts a Free Store at 901 N 13th Ave, which is a great place to drop off or pick up items (open all day; is an outdoor closet next to the street where anyone can drop off or pick up).

Above: Photo of a banner from the Stop the Camp Sweeps protest at Estevan Park. It reads "Housekeys Not Handcuffs." May 2022.

Stop Camp Sweeps!

Left: Photo of a police officer removing the eviction notice from Estevan Park. May 2022.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2018 & 2019 that people cannot be punished for sleeping outside on public property in the absence of adequate alternatives. (Homeless Persons Cannot Be Punished for Sleeping in Absence of Alternatives, 9th Circuit Decision Establishes)

From 2019 to 2020, the number of unsheltered individuals in Tucson—people sleeping in their cars or on the streets—increased by 60%. (No Refuge: Tucson's Homeless Crisis is Getting Worse)

People living outside often self-organize to leave near one another in networks of mutual support where they can watch each other's belongings and prevent theft and violence. Police regularly break up these camps, forcing people to disperse and find another place to sleep, often losing their belongings and community connections in the process. We call for an end of arrests, sweeps, and demolition of homeless camps. 

Are you living in a camp that is facing threat of sweeps? Contact us! Text the Splinter Collective at 283-0127 (area code 520) or use the Contact Us form below.

We are stronger together. When the camp in our neighborhood received an eviction notice, we organized an all day outdoor event with food and entertainment so there would be witnesses if the cops came. We called our Ward Office and they helped to intervene. We won! The police took down the eviction notice and the camp was allowed to remain.

We know that this is a continual struggle, that one eviction prevention does not mean the camp is secure, and we continue to work together - those living inside the camp and those working alongside - to prevent future evictions.

Bathroom Access Coalition

Everyone deserves the right to a dignified place to use the bathroom. There are very few public bathrooms to begin with, and too often the ones that are available are locked. 

The Bathroom Access Coalition is a group of concerned community members, as well as grassroots collectives and direct service organizations, including social workers, business owners, residents, and service providers. We are dedicated to making all public bathrooms, particularly public park bathrooms, accessible and safe for all Tucson community members. We meet every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month virtually at 4pm. For information on how to join, please email bathroomaccesscoalition@gmail.com

Steps for an Adopt Your Park Bathroom Campaign:

1) Attend a Bathroom Access Coalition meeting (if you want, no pressure!), where we can strategize about how to support your effort.  Here is our email address for getting in touch: bathroomaccesscoalition@gmail.com

2) Collect information for some period of time (e.g. one month) on whether the bathroom is open, clean, and stocked 

o    Red: closed Yellow: open but broken/not stocked/dirty Green: open, stocked and functioning.

  • Note if there are times the bathroom is specifically open and stocked (e.g. during sporting events that indicates that it CAN be open and stocked but is not prioritized for the general public)

3) Think about other groups or residents who may also use the park and the park bathroom who would have an interest in an accessible bathroom (sports teams, groups that bring children to the park, local residents).  Building a highly local coalition is powerful.

Promote the lack of access on social media (Example from Estavan ParkAnother Example from Estevan Park

4) Follow up with City, Parks Department and Ward Office members. 

  • Send a letter that requests/demands open and stocked bathrooms. We have an example you can use. 
  • Create a call in campaign asking for the bathrooms to be open and stocked
  • Inquire with the Parks Department about their understanding of when the bathroom should be open and stocked, and who has keys/direct access other than Parks

5) Throw an event at your bathroom to either celebrate improved service/accessibility or to highlight continued lack of accessibility (We had a party with music, food, and drinks at Estevan Park)

6) Send gestures of appreciation to relevant Ward or Parks Dept staff who are responsible for improved access at your park. 

Safe Use Sites

While the Tucson Alliance for Housing Justice does not run a safe use site, we support the efforts of aligned organizations that are implementing harm reduction efforts in Tucson and Southern Arizona. For more information on how to get involved or where to receive safe use materials and training (naloxone, needle exchange, etc), visit:

Church of Safe Injection Facebook page

Sonoran Prevention Works

Contact Us

Thank you for your interest. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that we do not provide legal services or housing assistance. Please visit our resource page for organizations that provide direct assistance.

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Website creation supported with funding from the City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department and Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness.

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