Phoenix-based St. Joseph the Worker receives grant to help homeless, others find and keep jobs

This article originally published in the Phoenix Business Journal.

Phoenix nonprofit St. Joseph the Worker — which helps disadvantaged, homeless and low-income individuals find jobs — has received a $250,000 grant from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. 

The funding for the foundation’s Workforce Villages program will help provide basic resources to maintain employment, said Bob Parsons, best known as the founder of GoDaddy and now the founder and CEO of PXG Apparel, in a statement.

Workforce Villages provides struggling individuals with up to three months of rent-free housing and assists individuals with transportation, professional attire, resume development and credit repair services, long-term goal planning and financial planning. 

The Maricopa Association of Governments has said that an estimated 5,029 unsheltered people are experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County as of 2022. Meanwhile, Valley housing prices have risen steadily to atmospheric heights in recent years, up 29% just for the 12-month period ending in May.

“Access to affordable housing in the greater Phoenix area is a growing issue and, without help, many people experiencing poverty and homelessness are unable to get back on their feet,” said Foundation President Renee Parsons in a statement.

According to the St. Joseph the Worker (SJW) annual report, one in three American adults has trouble paying expenses. In the past 12 months, the nonprofit has helped about 5,399 people secure and maintain quality jobs. Last year, SJW helped employ 2,996 individuals with an average salary of $15.86 per hour, and the organization said it now aims to use the grant money to expand its outreach to more than 100 people in the Phoenix area.

“With this additional funding, we will be able to bolster essential employment resources for our clients that many of us tend to take for granted in our day-to-day lives,” SJW Chief Operating Officer Dean Scheinert said in a statement.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has four pillars: youth & education, health & income, military & first responders, and the American Dream. Within the past eight months, the foundation has given grants to seven other Phoenix-based organizations, including Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, One N Ten, Robinson Ranch, All in Education, Almost Famous Theatre Company, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona Inc., and the International School of Arizona. 

In March, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors allocated money to various programs across Arizona. It received $435 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and allocated $1.89 million to support SJW’s workforce services efforts.

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