Catholic Charities MANA House accepts $30k grant for workforce development program

Phoenix IDA donated a $30,000 grant to Catholic Charities MANA House for workforce development program. (Submitted photo)

A $30,000 grant from the Phoenix IDA will support a unique workforce development program to train veterans living at Catholic Charities MANA House, a transitional living facility for veterans experiencing homelessness.

The veterans will learn how to roast coffee beans, which will be sold at The Refuge Café The cafe is a social enterprise under the auspices of Catholic Charities Community Services, as well as several other independent coffee shops, which purchase wholesale coffee from The Refuge Café, according to a press release.

The Phoenix IDA is an entrepreneurial nonprofit that draws upon its decades of experience to support community and economic development through access to capital.

The organization’s primary goal is to positively impact vulnerable populations and underserved communities through multiple strategies, a release states.

The Refuge Café Manager John Strawn will oversee the program, which uses specialized roasting equipment purchased with a donation from an anonymous donor. The equipment is due to be installed in the coming weeks, and the full coffee-roasting program for veterans is expected to begin in the spring.

MANA House residents will apply for the coffee-roasting program, which will start off training up to five veterans and expand as coffee sales increase.

“This generous grant provides funding for a training program with tremendous potential and exciting opportunities for veterans living at MANA House,” Danelle King, senior program manager for Catholic Charities MANA House, said in a prepared statement.

MANA House can house up to 76 veterans and the average stay is six-to-nine months. Most exit the program with steady income and housing, which allows them to start a new life.

“The Phoenix IDA is optimistic about this opportunity for veterans to get hands-on skills they can use to become part of the workforce,” Juan Salgado, CEO, the Phoenix IDA, said in a prepared statement.

“We want to help those who have helped our country and who now need a jump start to lead lives of long-term stability.”

The coffee-roasting program at MANA House was developed “to create a cost-effective, self-managed roasting-to-sales process to provide more opportunity for veterans at MANA House and create additional revenue streams for The Refuge Café,” Mr. Strawn said.

A check presentation ceremony at Catholic Charities MANA House took place on Feb. 28.

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