The city, county and nonprofit organizations started a Homeless Work Program this month to find day jobs for people without housing.
The effort is meant to help homeless people find pay for a day, and is modeled on a program in Albuquerque that aimed to reduce panhandling, said Tom Litwicki, the CEO of Old Pueblo Community Services. It’s one of the organizations helping support and run the program.
The program can handle about six workers a day, and is starting with cleaning up neighborhood streets, traffic circles and medians. Those are areas on which city street crews have been unable to keep up maintenance because of reduced staff budgets.
One worker, Larry, who did not want to share his last name, said he lost his primary job this year.
"Unfortunately that took a big chunk out of my income. Usually I’m self-sufficient, however this year I wasn’t able to be," he said.
The program helps a bit, Larry said.
"The average person does want to work. They want to make money, they want to be self-sufficient, so anything that gets them to that goal they welcome," Larry said.
Those who participate get lunch and a reservation at a shelter the same night. They also get access to assistance with housing, jobs and health care provided by Catholic Community Services.
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More on the Homeless Work Program, in this full interview with Tom Litwicki, CEO of Old Pueblo Community Services.