This is an awesome program for the homeless— Arkansas City is paying $9.25, better than the minimum wage rate, for the homeless to pick up trash from the streets.
Talk about hitting two birds with one stone! Little Rock in Arkansas recently attracted lots of positive attention online after it started a unique program that helps the homeless while dealing with the trash problem in the city at the same time.
Little Rock dubbed the Initiative Bridge to Work, and it has been successful since it began.
The program is paying more than the US's national minimum wage rate of $7.25, and it aims to get citizen's lives back on track while cleaning up the streets.
According to reports, the scheme was initially a six-month trial.
But Mayor Frank Scott Jr was so impressed with the results and has proposed to extend it through to September 2020.
Associate pastor Paul Atkins of the Canvas Community Church, which runs the program, said in a press statement:
"We're super excited about what has gone on, and we hope to be able to keep the momentum going."
"We want to work with them on their next step. 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."
Participants of the program have also been offered physical and mental health services, along with career coaching and temporary housing.
So far, the city has spent over $80,000 on the project.
There have been around 380 people signed up for the scheme. They work in teams of eight and have put in more than 1,832 hours with more than 2,000 bags of rubbish cleared.
When Felecia Cooks, one of the local leaders, heard the plans to renew the program up to 2020, she said:
"I just knew, I never had a doubt. I never had a doubt because I knew our potential, and I knew that we would get to this point. And so, it made me just want to just cry out with tears of joy."
Many have been quick to praise the scheme.
One social media user said:
"Other states should adopt this too. It will benefit the city and a large number of homeless."
While another added:
"Great idea, at least you are trying to better your community in more ways than one."
A third wrote:
"About time. Brilliant, give these people a chance. Being homeless can happen to anyone this country needs to do more to help it's own."