Juan transitions from homeless to employed

A job means independence and having a steady income

Between Arizona’s affordable housing crisis and the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels more difficult than ever to overcome economic barriers and achieve employment success. For the homeless, those in transition and those who are on the precipice of financial crisis due to sudden job loss, that prospect of becoming employed or re-employed can be daunting. This is one of the reasons we celebrate our clients at every opportunity! It takes a lot of drive and determination for someone experiencing homelessness, who is simultaneously grappling with the tragic life circumstances that got them there to begin with, to possess themselves, get off the streets, find a job and create a better life. This is Juan’s story.

Currently living at the Central Arizona Shelter Service on the Human Services Campus (HSC), Juan came to SJW looking for work. He was given job leads, clothing and bus passes in order to apply for jobs in person and to attend interviews. This week, he rang the bell!

Juan got hired at Surge Staffing as a warehouse associate – a temp-to-hire, full-time position offering benefits immediately! His starting wage is $13.75/hour but after 90 days, his pay will automatically increase to $16.00/hour; and his new company offers a guaranteed pay increase every 90 days based on good performance for the near future. Juan was scheduled to begin working immediately. To help ensure he would be successful at his job from day one, SJW provided Juan with a week’s worth of appropriate work clothing and a 30-day bus pass to ensure he would be able to get back and forth to work reliably.

Juan’s quick answer to the question, “what does a job mean to you,” –  “Independence and a steady income.” Though still living in the CASS shelter, he aspires to be an electrician one day. When asked if he would like to ring the bell, meet our Executive Director Brent Downs, and have his picture taken, he said, “Famous for a day is still famous.” Classic!

At SJW, we strive to work with quality business partners – local employers that can offer our clients “quality jobs,” defined as a job that offers better than minimum wage and employee benefits like healthcare. It also implies a job position that will provide a path for growth and wage increases so that our clients will achieve a living wage sooner rather than later, empowering true economic self-sufficiency. Go Juan! We are so excited for him and his future. And we acknowledge and appreciate Surge Staffing an their partners for being a quality employer.

And we thank all of our community partners who have so loyally supported SJW and our work. It is only through your support that we can continue, “Transforming Lives through Employment.” Thank you.