A Staffing Solution Brings Hope to those Experiencing Homelessness

Primavera Works is part of the Primavera Foundation, which provides a continuum of services for people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness. The Primavera Foundation was founded in 1983 by Nancy Bissell and Gordon Packard.

Primavera Works evolved as a result of concerns expressed about the day labor industry by individuals staying at the Primavera Men’s Emergency Shelter and drop-in center in Tuscon, Arizona.  Workers were arriving at the day labor halls as early as 4:00 a.m. on foot, as public transportation was not available at the early hour.  Once they arrived, they endured several hours waiting in line before receiving a job assignment.

Unfortunately, other challenges compounded this method of acquiring day labor. Often, not everyone got a job assignment, as there was still not enough work for everyone.  Breakfast was something most skipped. The majority of the jobs available paid minimum wage and further charges were deducted for work-related necessities such as gloves and transportation to the worksite. Finally, rules were in place that inhibited workers from accepting permanent work with labor hall clients.

Recognizing a unique opportunity to engage individuals in work, in 1996 Primavera launched Primavera Works, a non-profit staffing service. Since then, Primavera’s goal has been to offer a meaningful alternative to people facing the insurmountable barriers to success endemic in the day labor industry and to offer them a pathway out of homelessness. As an alternative to other day labor halls, Primavera Works offers:

  • Above minimum wage pay
  • Free meals and safety supplies, such as gloves and back braces
  • Free Transportation 
  • Support services with linkages for housing, behavioral health, food, clothing, education and training, etc.
  • Employability skills training
  • Job search assistance

Primavera’s clients include local businesses and homeowners who can hire individual workers or supervised crews to do a variety of work including yard maintenance, construction clean up, janitorial and water harvesting. Job assignments include daily, long-term, and temp-to-hire opportunities.

Each year Primavera’s services reach over 500 individuals. Of those who are looking for permanent employment, over 60% leave with a job. More importantly, they leave with hope and the foundation for a bright future. Greg is one of those individuals.

“Primavera was a family to me during a time in my life that I had no family, nobody. When I had literally nothing, they gave me food, shelter, friendship, hope and a path to recovery. My life is good again and Primavera made that possible.” – Greg

Greg approached Primavera following a personal downward spiral. His struggles began after a falling out with his family which progressed to a drug problem, legal issues and eventually homelessness. After getting out of rehab, Greg enrolled with Primavera Works and got a bed at the Primavera Men’s Shelter as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. He worked on assignments through Primavera Works’ by supporting the Men’s Shelter kitchen and Primavera drop-in center. Once he had a steady income and the ability to save some money, he moved into affordable housing at Primavera. By getting back on his feet, Greg obtained a full-time position as a senior program manager for a medical diagnostics company in March 2021. Today he has a great job, reliable housing, a vehicle, financial stability and has reconnected with his family.


Primavera Works joined SEA in 2015 after hearing about the network from Alternative Staffing Alliance. The two organizations complement each other as the Alternative Staffing Alliance is focused on staffing industry social enterprises, and SEA provides a broader scope and support of social enterprises overall. For Primavera, the social enterprise model works well because it allows them to provide work experience and income to participants, while also making the business more independent by being able to bring in revenue to support the program.

To learn more about Primavera Works, check out their member directory profile.

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