Ministries provide vital services for the homeless with CDA support

Charity and Development Appeal (CDA)

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The CDA supports more than 70 charitable organizations connected to the Diocese of Phoenix.

Info: dphx.org/cda

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Ministries provide vital services for the homeless with CDA support

Like most people who experience and recover from homelessness, Donald Brizedine is focused on the future.

His engaging smile captured on the Charity and Development Appeal video expresses joy from receiving gainful employment with the help of St. Joseph the Worker.

The nonprofit, which last year received $15,000 in CDA-funding, provides job services and employment resources to homeless, low-income and other disadvantaged clients.

“Most people experience homelessness due to a job loss or change of home circumstance,” said Brent Downs, executive director.

“Their big struggle is how to share their story without people being judgmental. Once they get back on their feet, they want to forget. It’s a chapter in their past.”

Brizedine has worked for Whitewater Bottling Company for the past two years, and recently received a raise and a promotion.

He uses public transportation and is saving to buy a car.

“I still appreciate all that St. Joseph the Worker helped me accomplish — and that a resume, an e-mail to Whitewater and a bus pass for the interview has gotten me both job security and a roof over my head. Thank you all very much,” Brizedine said.

Downs said the organization is projected to help 4,000 clients this year; spending an average of $360 per client to get them back to work.

“The impact of our program is based on the amount of funding we receive. The CDA helps us provide bus passes, job development and clothing … to meet them where they’re at,” Downs said.

Besides St. Joseph the Worker’s two Phoenix brick-and-mortar locations, job developers literally meet clients where they are by networking with other shelters and social service agencies. They bring resources or the Mobile Success Unit — a remodeled RV complete with a clothing closet — to help individuals living beyond the county’s Human Services Campus.

Paz de Cristo Community Center in Mesa is one of St. Joseph the Worker’s regular satellite sites. It’s also another example of how a nonprofit impacts people through the annual support of the CDA.

In addition to providing 50,000 evening meals and food boxes each month, they partnered with the City of Mesa to open a homeless court on campus.

The monthly court opened three months ago to handle minor offenses like jay walking or scavenging that causes backlogs.

Arlen Westling, executive director of the center, said they set up a court with computers and two chairs; one for the judge and one for the defendant.

“People that get arrested have to go to court and then they are fined, but they are homeless and can’t pay the fine so they go to jail,” Westling said.

If the individual is on campus, the judge suspends the fine for community service at the center, although that depends on the nature of the arrest and the amount of the fine.

“It’s a win, win, win. The fact that the CDA helps Paz de Cristo allows us to do programs like this,” he said.