San Jose, Calif. started a new program called Beautify San Jose which offers the homeless an opportunity to earn a livable wage by cleaning up the city.
There are approximately 4,350 homeless people residing in San Jose according to the 2017 Homeless Census and survey.
The participants in this program will earn $15 an hour, which is higher than San Jose’s current minimum wage of $13.50 an hour.
This pilot program will hire 25 people to pick up garbage in the particular “hot-spots” in the city that have been labeled as primary focal points. Participants are expected to work four to five hours per day.
Goodwill and Downtown Streets Team have partnered to hire and pay the participants in this program and some car dealerships have offered two vehicles for transportation around of the city.
“We intend to show that our work-ready homeless residents can become, and want to become, part of ‘the solution’—both for themselves and for our community,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a press release.
This initiative will help people get back on their feet and may strengthen the relationship between the homeless and their community.
“Homelessness is a very complex issue. The initial contract for this program is eight months and we are hoping to expand after that time,” said Chris Ratana, Policy Analyst and Neighborhood Liaison for the City of San Jose. “We are focusing on the streets and areas with the most traffic and acknowledging that neighborhood streets can benefit from this also. This will hopefully be a way to bring the homeless some self-confidence and dignity so they can successfully reintegrate into society.”
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