Nancy Bissell and Gordon Packard began the Primavera Foundation as a response to the growing numbers of homeless individuals on the streets of Tucson, Arizona.
In 1983, they organized a large group of volunteers to begin the St. Martin’s Soup Kitchen. They were guided by the principle that every individual has intrinsic worth and deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. Shortly thereafter, the neighborhood filed a lawsuit to shut down the kitchen.
The court challenge went all the way up to the Arizona Supreme Court, which ordered the kitchen to close. Nancy and Gordon went on to renovate Pueblo Court into supportive housing for people with mental illness. They also raised money to build the Primavera Men’s Shelter, which continues to provide shelter for up to 80 men each night, 365 days per year.
Primavera Foundation now provides:
- Emergency shelter and services through a men’s shelter, a women’s shelter, a scattered-site family shelter and two day drop-in centers
- Participation in coordinated entry through Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness (TPCH) with homelessness intervention and prevention and rapid rehousing
- Transitional housing
- Safe, affordable housing at 11 properties with 145 units
- Community building and engagement through gardens, public policy education and convenings
- Workforce development through Primavera Works, a temporary staffing agency
- Homeownership and financial education classes and workshops.