St. Joseph the Worker committed to coronavirus pandemic relief efforts in Arizona

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According to the Arizona Housing Coalition, more than 300,000 Arizonans will lose their jobs in the coming months as a result of businesses responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

For 30 years, St. Joseph the Worker has been the conduit to connect Valley job seekers to quality jobs, and right now, that mission is more important to individuals and families, a press release states.

SJW is helping relieve some of the pressure on a strained system by connecting individuals with employment during the pandemic, according to a press release.

Despite misunderstandings of no work available and no one wanting to fill the jobs that are open, SJW is fielding 200 employment inquiry calls per week, officials there say.

In March, SJW’s employment specialists helped 154 individuals gain employment with an average wage of $13.43 per hour. In addition, 86 percent were eligible for benefits. This translates to over $4.2 million dollars back into the Arizona economy.

“70 percent of Arizonans live paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot wait, or will not wait, for unemployment or stimulus checks,” said Brent Downs, St. Joseph the Worker executive director, in a prepared statement.

“This is where we come in. Our goal is to keep people away from unemployment benefit reliance and allow them to work to afford simple things like internet and phones, necessities in the pandemic as schools close and families are told to stay put, as well as remain as stable as possible to slow increasing poverty and homeless rates.”

One of the largest misconceptions is that companies have stopped hiring because of the COVID-19 outbreak. In reality, places like grocery stores, landscaping businesses, and healthcare groups rely heavily on things such as logistics, deliveries, supplies, and food sources to keep their operations moving forward, according to SJW officials.

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