For Tucson, Arizona, multifamily development and management firm HSL Properties, “It’s about community” isn’t just a tagline — it’s an ethos that permeates everything the company does. “That really sums up the whole company’s philosophy,” says Lisa Rosenfeld, HSL vice president, who has worked at the company since 2004.
Among all the company’s numerous charitable activities, perhaps the best example of this community focus can be seen in the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity, which was envisioned as a “one-stop refuge of hope that would provide holistic support for guests as they journey out of homelessness into self-sufficiency.”
The foundation — named after and started by HSL co-founder Humberto S. Lopez and his wife, Czarina — bought a former hotel building in 2018 and transformed it into an innovative approach to helping the area’s unhoused population, in collaboration with Gospel Rescue Mission, El Rio Community Health Center, La Frontera Arizona, Arizona Department of Economic Security, and many other nonprofits. The 150,000-square-foot center combines emergency and long-term housing, nutrition, job training, education, dental, medical, addiction recovery, government, legal, entertainment, faith, and community services all under one roof.
One of the main barriers for unhoused people is that the services they need to access are usually spread out across the city, Rosenfeld says. This requires having reliable transportation, which is severely lacking, in addition to knowing exactly where to go for help. The Center of Opportunity solves those problems with its centralized approach, allowing those seeking help to get it quickly and easily. It’s a model many other charitable organizations and even governments have marveled at and want to replicate after seeing it in action, Rosenfeld says.
“I can’t tell you how many people from different organizations and governments come to visit the center because they’ve heard about it, and they want to use it as a model,” she says.
Besides providing the obvious benefits for the community, Rosenfeld says, the company gets a huge boost in employee satisfaction and buy-in because of its charitable focus. “We hear from our staff all the time that team members really enjoy being a part of a company that gives back to the community. And they’re proud to work for HSL because it’s so engrained in the community,” she says.
HSL relies on many partners to make the Center of Opportunity a success, and that focus on partnerships extends to the company’s main business of multifamily asset management. Cox Communications has been one of those trusted partners for decades, Rosenfeld says, providing telecommunications, technology services, and consultation to a large swath of HSL’s existing and new-build properties.
“We don’t look at them as a vendor; we truly look at them as a partner in building our success,” she says.
And HSL can feel good knowing Cox cares about the communities it serves, too. In addition to helping HSL with its charitable fundraising efforts over the years, Cox has the “34 by 34” social impact initiative, which aims to empower 34 million people to live more prosperous lives by 2034 by focusing on technology access, lifelong education, employment skills, social equity, environmental sustainability, and good health — areas where Cox can use its expertise and resources to make a difference.
Learn more about the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity and Cox’s 34 by 34.