TUCSON, AZ (TNN) – The thirtieth anniversary of Primavera Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping people out of homelessness and poverty, was both a celebration and a reminder of the work that still needs to be done.
"I feel good that there are so many people here doing so much in this community to try to make life better for people who really need our help. I feel bad because homelessness is still among us," said Primavera Foundation co-founder Gordon Packard as he stood among the crowded El Casino Ballroom Thursday.
"I despair that we could solve the whole problem, because frankly it's gotten worse in the 30 years we've been doing this work. But at least we all know we're going in the direction we think we should be," said Primavera Foundation co-founder Nancy Bissell.
"We continue to say how we can change the way we do business in our community to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home," said Primavera Foundation CEO Peggy Hutchison.
Hutchison pointed out that while half of Primavera's $6.5 million budget comes from federal funds, another quarter of the budget comes from private donations and the remainder comes from revenue that the foundation's own enterprises generate. Such diversity can help protect the foundation as the government continues to cut spending.
"In talking with Washington today, they weren't talking about providing new money. They were talking about the money that's out there, can we use it as efficiently as possible," said Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
"That's one of the issues we have to tackle as we figure a way to cut the deficit," said Congressman Ron Barber. "We cannot forget the people who are homeless, the people who have children who need education, low income families who need support."
"As the federal government unfortunately decides it's going to be less helpful with people in need, and I think it's wrong, Primavera is a model about survival," said Congressman Raul Grijalva.
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