Homeless workers add sparkle to the Gem Show
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Homeless people are bringing some extra sparkle to the Gem Show. They're cleaning up the place, with a boost from the Tucson Police Department, Primavera and the Tucson Convention Center.
The people in the red vests, cleaning up the Gem Show's food area are sweeping up an opportunity while they make the Gem Show better.
They are homeless, hired through the teamwork of the Tucson Convention Center, Tucson Police and Primavera.
Stan Gulley was sweeping up as he told us, "I just got out of the joint in January. Homeless, and if it wasn't for Primavera Works, I wouldn't have anything."
About 20 workers are keeping TCC clean for an event very important for Tucson's image--and the show's exhibitors do notice.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Lisa Brooks-Pike: "Are you seeing a change this year compared to previous years?"
Lisa Brooks-Pike: "Absolutely, we've got nice clean table cloths, no cigarrette butts on the floor and all the planters are clean, so yeah, it's cleaner."
Simple decency prevents us from showing you one major improvement. People tell us the rest rooms are much better.
When TCC wanted extra workers to beef up custodial staff during the Gem Show, administrators knew Tucson Police had close ties to Primavera and its efforts to help the homeless and unemployed. Tucson Police were able to help pay the workers through money recovered from drug dealers.
Craig Smith asked TPD Lt. Fabian Pacheco: "So this works out to be something good happening because police intercepted people doing something bad?"
Lt. Pacheco: "Yes; actually on a couple levels. This program with Primavera Works is successful because essentially we're taking dollars from drug dealers and putting people to work in our community."
Stan Gulley says the work helps him rebuild his life and keeps him from slipping back into the addictions that sent him to prison.
He says, "Through Primavera Works which I've been working about the last month with them, I'm that close to be able to get my own apartment."