New Tempe jobs program will employ homeless and improve lives

Tempe, AZ – A limited number of homeless individuals in Tempe could get city jobs and assistance with daily living needs under a two-year pilot program called Tempe Works.

At its Sept. 18 Work Study Session, the Tempe City Council cleared the way for the concept of the program, which would be the first of its kind in Arizona. Partners in the effort include the city, Tempe Community Action Agency (TCAA), Tempe-based Corporate Job Bank, which is the city’s vendor for temporary employees, and Tempe First United Methodist Church, which coordinates a program for showers and meals for the homeless.

Tempe Works would open a maximum of four part-time city positions, performing functions within the Public Works Department such as repairing refuse cans and maintaining the purity of green organic compost by removing contaminants like plastic bottles. Participants will be paid the state's new minimum wage of $12 an hour and they would be provided assistance with housing, transportation, uniforms, medical care and daily living needs. Positions could have the possibility of becoming full time. 

The concept moves next to the Sept. 28 Regular Council Meeting for a City Council vote on a formal agreement between the city and its partners. If approved, Tempe Works would move forward to implementation and jobs could be filled by the end of 2017.

The idea was developed through a Tempe City Council working group proposed by Councilmember Randy Keating, after he heard of a smaller-scale City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, day worker program. Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage and Councilmember Joel Navarro also served on the working group to develop Tempe Works.

Keating said Tempe Works can easily be scaled up and possibly create dozens of jobs for Tempe’s homeless – both city jobs and positions at companies contracted with Corporate Job Bank.

“This is a community-based effort to address an issue that impacts our entire region,” Keating said. “I hope it can serve as a model for other cities in the Valley, specifically those that border Tempe, as they also look for creative solutions to our biggest regional problem.”

For more information on Tempe’s comprehensive initiative to end homelessness, visit