The city of Little Rock in Arkansas state is giving homeless people a chance to earn a living by paying them to pick up trash.
The project, initiated in Little Rock, is called the “Bridge to Work” program, where eight homeless people per day will get paid for picking up trash, removing weeds, and other tasks that involve cleaning.
The program received total funding of $80,000 from Little Rock’s Public Works Department. From that pool, the participants will be paid $9.25 an hour, which is the minimum wage for rubbish-pickers in Arkansas state. They will also be provided meals at the end of each day.
The six-month trial program, spearheaded by Canvas Community Church, will run from April 1 until September 27.
The homeless people of Arkansas are highly optimistic about this program, hoping that it will give them access to better work opportunities in the future.
Alexander Williams, one of the participants, said:
“Hopefully you know by doing this job right here, maybe I could get hired on fully by the city or something.”
Alexander plays the role of supervisor and driver in the new project, and he hopes that it will pave the way for a better future for him.
“I’m basically trying to change my life,” he added.
We may live in a first-world country, but cases of homelessness across America are still widespread. The people who belong to this population aren’t only those who are living on the streets, but also those who move between temporary shelters.
According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness:
“As of January 2018, Arkansas had an estimated 2,712 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).”
The community church who runs the program truly upholds its values.
According to their website:
“We are a diverse community of imperfect, broken people who are searching for something bigger than ourselves, something vibrant, something meaningful, something mystifying, something improbably satisfying.”
And they perfectly exemplified this by initiating this kind of project that aims to lift people up.
As the program name implies, its ultimate goal is to help homeless individuals gain access to avenues that would bring them out of homelessness, such as stable employment, an education, or rehab.
Harond Goodlow Jr., another participant in the program, said:
“It’s positive. I’m giving back and making money, setting an example for my son.”
Paul Atkins, Associate Pastor of Canvas Community Church, is praying that the project will lead to greater things.
“The goal is to give them a day’s work and a day’s pay, but also the opportunity to connect to services that can help them to get full employment, or whatever the next step is.”
He appreciates that the city has been nothing but cooperative and supportive of the program. If ever it becomes a success, then they might extend it beyond the trial period to give more homeless people a chance at life.
You can also contribute to Canvas Community Church’s mission of helping people in need. Click here to be redirected to their website.