Little Rock, Arkansas is a city that has one of the most unique methods to address the problem of homelessness and street garbage at once. The results from their endeavour have been satisfying.
This is an initiative of the Bridge to Work program that launched in April and it includes paying homeless people $9.25 per hour to pick up litter from the streets. This is actually a higher amount than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
How Is the New Program Accepted?
The primary decision was the program to last for 6 months; however, the Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said that they would push it to continue through the end of September, 2020.
This city spent $80,000 during the first six months of the program which has been run by the Canvas Community Church. The pastor of the church Paul Atkins said they’re very excited with what the program brought and they genuinely hope it will continue in the same manner.
The homeless participants in the program also get physical and mental health services, as well as assistance with job interviews and temporary housing. The goal of the program isn’t solely to have squeaky clean streets- it’s also a chance to help these people.
Pastor Atkins said on the city’s board of directors meeting last month that they’re eager to work with these people on the next step.
He also added that there are numerous obstacles these people cope with, from homelessness to panhandling to full-time work.
To this date, Atkins notes that 380 people have been participants in the program. They work in groups of 8 and most of them joined the program through the church.
The teams always leave at least one open place on the team in case they encounter a panhandler on the cleaning route. 44 from the 158 panhandlers they’ve met accepted this work opportunity.
What Are the Benefits from the Program?
From the start of the program 5 months ago, 130 cities have been cleaned, 1821 hours have been dedicated to work, and 2056 bags of garbage and debris have been eliminated from the city.
We definitely think this program should also be incorporated in other cities and other parts of the world, don’t you agree?