The mission of Park Villa Casitas is to provide supportive housing at Blanche Johnson Courtyards that enhances the well being and quality of life for very low-income seniors.
Situated on a five acre parcel at 1435 E 36th Street in the South Park Neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona, Blanche Johnson Courtyards features 68 accessible one-bedroom resident apartments (clustered around nine small courtyards), a central community courtyard, a large community room (with kitchen), a computer / library room, and self-serve laundry facilities. The resident apartments are available to qualifying low-income seniors 62 years of age or older, for single or double occupancy. There is also a management office, maintenance and storage facilities, and one apartment for on-site staff.
The property, acquired from the City of Tucson for one dollar, is directly adjacent to Quincie Douglas regional park, which includes a public pool and neighborhood center. Pima County Public Library system's Quincie Douglas Branch Library is within walking distance. The Bridges, a 351-acre development directly across 36th Street, will feature the University of Arizona Bioscience Park, Tucson Marketplace, a hotel, and 700-750 single family homes.
Design and construction of Blanche Johnson Courtyards was funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with other contributions from the City of Tucson, Cox Communications, and Tucson Electric Power. Construction was completed in mid-2008.
The community is named in honor of Blanche Naomi Williams Johnson (1912-2002), Tucson's first African American licensed cosmetologist and cosmetology instructor. A native of Arkansas and graduate of Ruth’s Beauty College (Los Angeles, CA), Mrs. Johnson owned and operated Blanchette Beauty Shop from 1938-1963. In the late 1950s, Blanche also helped found and manage Glamour Girl Beauty School, the first integrated beauty school in Tucson. Following her cosmetology career, Mrs. Johnson served as a Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy, retiring in 1977.
Blanche Johnson Courtyards enjoys full occupancy virtually 100% of the time, with a regular waiting list of 30-40 interested individuals. It is very popular among local seniors. As one new resident said:
"I've lived at [another property] for over fifteen years and it was an OK, safe place to live. But this ... this is like a home!"
Because federal funds are limited and their use is restricted to certain expenses and activities, the Park Villa Casitas Board of Directors maintains a separate fund for discretionary spending. We use these funds to enhance residents' lives, whether hosting a monthly group birthday party, holiday meal, or special event, assisting with basic furnishings and housewares, stocking the on-site food pantry, providing personal hygiene products (especially those not covered by Medicare or Medicaid), or making general improvements to the apartments and grounds, such as installing dishwashers or planting food-bearing trees and gardens.
Park Villa Casitas is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and 100% of your donation is tax deductible. Donations from Arizona taxpayers may also qualify for Arizona's Working Poor Tax Credit. For more information on the WPTC, please visit Arizona Dept. of Revenue's web site.