The City of Phoenix is proud to announce a partnership with St. Joseph the Worker (SJW) for the Workforce Villages Program. The employment-first program connects employed people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurities with housing and support services for 12 weeks, allowing them to save enough money to afford their own housing without any assistance.
During the program, participants must work full time, at least 35 hours per week, earning at least $17 per hour and save 80 percent of their paycheck in their own bank account. Clients also have weekly meetings with their Workforce Villages Specialist, learning other vital life skills like financial literacy, budgeting and meal planning.
“Workforce Villages is a short-term program that provides long-term solutions,” said Rachel Milne, Director of the Office of Homeless Solutions. “In just three months, participants exit the program paying their own rent and having the skills they need to stay self-sufficient in the future. This program demonstrates how providing critical support services can help people permanently end their homelessness.”
The Phoenix City Council approved the $2 million dollar contract in October 2022 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act Strategic Plan. St. Joseph the Worker created the program in 2020, assisting nearly 300 individuals to date. Of the clients who completed the program, 83% are still in their own housing today.
“The partnership with the City Of Phoenix allows St. Joseph the Worker to provide a pathway to self-sufficiency based on employment and accountability. Addressing underemployment and housing insecurity in the same program has become invaluable to a client’s success. It’s only with the participation of forward-thinking municipalities, like the City of Phoenix, employers, foundations and individual donors that we can have maximum impact in our community,” said Daren Strunk, COO at SJW.
St. Joseph the Worker partners with more than 20 Valley employers to connect people in need with quality jobs, transportation, uniforms and other workplace assistance. These Preferred Business Partners (PBP) can also refer new hires to SJW for resources and their existing workers who face housing insecurity to the Workforce Villages Program. SJW is always looking for more PBPs who offer a starting wage of $17, benefits and room for growth. Interested employers can learn more by contacting SWJ directly at (602) 755-JOBS (5627) or by emailing [email protected].