Primavera Foundation and representatives from other local organizations sought solutions and potential collaborations to tackle pressing challenges involving housing and homelessness, during the third of a series of convenings Primavera has hosted this year.
The July 10 meeting brought together such groups as Old Pueblo Community Services, the YWCA, the Southwest Fair Housing Council and others, while Primavera was represented by leaders from Project Action for Veterans, Homeless Intervention and Prevention, Rapid Rehousing and Shelter Services.
Many organizations, including Primavera, reported an increase in elderly participants. Demand for services is growing for elderly individuals who have increased health challenges, little access to care and, for the first time in their lives, are homeless.
“Eighty percent of women at our shelter are elderly and low income,” said Reyna Leon, Primavera’s director of shelter services. “For the men’s shelter, 15 to 20 percent are elderly. They are doing well with employment. Half are employed or have income. It all comes down to housing, and there is not enough safe, affordable housing.”
Representatives called for even greater collaboration among the organizations to ensure all participant needs are being addressed through referrals and mutual support.
Despite the challenges, which also include funding and the need for additional staff, many found positives in their work. They said they felt great job satisfaction in connecting individuals and families with services such as rent and utility assistance, food, emergency housing and making conditions less challenging so people could focus on getting a job.
Primavera, along with Old Pueblo, has been hosting the convenings to identify service gaps among the groups, overlap and the best way to efficiently serve the community. Other convenings have focused on workforce development and restorative justice.
The next convening, on homeownership, will be held August 14.