City Plans To Pay The Homeless $9.25 An Hour To Pick Up Trash

Nov 6th, 2019

Poverty is one of the biggest factors that affect homelessness. There are so many reasons why a person would decide to live on the streets or temporary overnight shelters. Millions of Americans live in shelters, public places, and in transitional housing that is not really meant and fitting to provide a comfortable living environment.

However, more and more homeless individuals have difficulty in finding a job. Most companies wouldn’t want to hire them. This is what Arkansas City wants to change!

Arkansas City started a trial program where they help people transition from homelessness. They do this by paying $9. 25 for each homeless individual who collects trash for an hour. This rate is in fact, $2 higher than the city’s minimum wage. The U.

S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Arkansas estimated to have more or less 2,712 homeless individuals as of January of 2018. They are hoping that through this program, that number is going to reduce anytime soon.

The Arkansas City program in Little Rock is called, “Bridge to Work.”

This program started after Little Rock decided to pay the homeless people within the city a minimum wage if they pick up trash. This is operated by the local Canvas Community Church. Those who are willing to participate in this program can work for up to four hours a day, and up to three days a week. This means that if the homeless person is dedicated to doing this job, he or she can earn more than $400 a month.

This is surely better than panhandling. This is also the reason why in January, the minimum wage was increased to $9. 25.

This program started in April and it was a success. This is why City Mayor Frank Jr. plans to extend this for another year!

The Associate Pastor of Canvas Community Church, Paul Atkins, is the one who runs the program. He too was one of the firsts who got really excited upon hearing the news. He is hoping that the momentum will keep going. He shared that 380 people have already joined the workforce of this program.

He is glad to announce that many of them helped at least once. Since the project started, they already have a total of 130 areas cleaned with over 2000 bags of trash and 1,821 hours of work.

During the board meeting, he said, “We want to work with them on their next step.” He added, “There are a lot of barriers that our people experience to go from homelessness and panhandling to full-time work. There’s a lot of steps in between.”

Alexander Williams is one of the beneficiaries of this program. He works as a driver and a supervisor. He admits that this program is changing his life. He too is working to transition from being homeless and he was glad he joined the program.

In fact, the Public Works Department is paying $80,000 to fund the Bridge to Work program.

Arkansas City is surely dedicated to effectively end veteran homelessness. This is why even though the Bridge to Work program was supposed to run for six months only, with its success, it is expected to extend until the end of September 2020.