Articles, Blog

Portland calls program to put panhandlers to work a success

September 23, 2019


THE FUTURE. IT’S 19 DEGREES AND THERE’S TODD LEMOINE, AT THE CORNER OF CONGRESS ASKING FOR HELP.>>I WENT TO REHAB FOR A WHILE, GOT SOBER FOR 6 MONTHS AND OF COURSE I RELAPSED AND HERE I AM. JIM: FOR SIX MONTHS LAST SPRING AND SUMMER THE CITY ENGAGED 65 PEOPLE LIKE TODD, ASKED THEM IF THEY’D RATHER WORK, GET PAID $10.86 AN HOUR TO HELP CLEAN UP THE CITY PARKS AND OTHER PUBLIC PLACES. 17 AGREED TO BE PART OF THE PROGRAM, FIVE PEOPLE FOUND CONTINUING EMPLOYMENT, FIVE OTHERS WERE CONNECTED TO PERMANENT HOUSING. EVEN THOUGH THOSE NUMBERS MIGHT SEEM LOW, THE CITY IS CALLING IT A SUCCESS.>>ANYTIME WE HELP AN INDIVIDUAL RATHER IT BE TO BECOME STABILITY HOUSED, OR GAINFULLY EMPLOYED THAT’S A SUCCESS ON OUR END. JIM: AARON GEYER SAYS THEY ARE EAGER TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING COME THIS SPRING. THEY’VE GOT SOME OF THE $42,000 IN GRANT MONEY LEFT TO CONTINUE THE PROGRAM AND THEY’RE RE-APPLYING FOR MORE GRANTS, SO THEY CAN REACH MORE PEOPLE, LIKE TODD LEMOINE. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THAT?>>NO, I DON’T GET THE HOMELESS CHANNEL. JIM: IS THAT SOMETHING YOU MIGHT WANT TO DO?>>SURE. JIM: THEY’RE WILLING TO PAY 10.86 AN HOUR.>>THAT’S GOOD. JIM: THEY HAD PEOPLE GO AROUND CLEANING UP THE PARKS AND STUFF. WOULD YOU RATHER BE DOING THAT, THAN THIS?>>WELL YEAH, GET ME BACK HOME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE. JIM: GETTING PEOPLE OFF THE MEDIANS AND TO WORK IN THE GOAL THE PROGRAM MANAGER SAYS THE FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTIONS ARE KEY TO THE PROGRAM’S SUCCESS.>>I THINK WE DO THE OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT IN PERSON AND WE GET TO TALK TO FOLKS ABOUT WHAT THE PROGRAM ACTUALLY ENTAILS, AND BETTER EXPLAIN THE PROGRAM, FOLKS ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY AND WILLING TO WORK WITH US. JIM: GEYER WAS HAPPY TO TELL US THAT THEY COLLECTED MORE THAN 300 BAGS OF TRASH FROM MORE THAN

1 Comment

  • Reply Diane Wilkins August 8, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Fantastic idea!! Everyone benefits!!

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