at 151 W 40th St, Tucson, 85713 United States
The Primavera Foundation provides pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization
The Primavera Foundation began in the early 1980’s as a response to the growing numbers of homeless individuals on the streets of Tucson. In 1983 Gordon Packard and Nancy Bissell organized a large group of volunteers to begin the St. Martin’s Soup Kitchen. Their guiding principle was that every individual has intrinsic worth and deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. Shortly thereafter the neighborhood in which the Kitchen was located filed a lawsuit to shut the Kitchen down. The court challenge went all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court and St. Martin’s was ultimately ordered to close. From that experience Nancy and Gordon moved on to renovate Pueblo Court into supportive housing for the seriously mentally ill, and they raised money to build the Primavera Men’s Shelter which still provides shelter to up to 100 men each night, 365 days per year. Advocacy and social change are also at the forefront of Primavera’s work and mission. In 1988 Primavera worked with the Arizona Justice Institute to file a complaint with the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) against Western Savings and MeraBank for alleged discriminatory lending practices. Both institutions agreed to provide $100 million for low-interest loans in designated low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Tucson and Phoenix. Then, in 2008 Primavera worked with a group of organizations, including Arizonans for Responsible Lending and the Southwest Center for Economic Integrity, to defeat Proposition 200. Prop. 200 was a citizens’ ballot initiative that would have made charging triple digit interest rates on payday loans permanently legal in the state of Arizona. Although outspent by the payday loan industry 64-to-1, the initiative was defeated and the 2010 sunset provision on charging over 36% interest for payday loans went into effect. Primavera has expanded its services and advocacy work over the past 27 years to include: workforce development programs that help people return to work, develop job skills and provide special assistance to former prisoners; rental housing that provides stable, long-term and affordable solutions to the community’s lack of affordable, safe housing; Financial Education, HomeOwnership and Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention workshops that help families work towards financial security; Neighborhood Revitalization programs that help neighborhoods become communities of choice; and proactive Community Engagement that provides communities with sustainable solutions to issues.
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