Fort Worth, Texas is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and they have a brilliant program in place to help homeless people get back on their feet – Clean State. This program is funded by the city and run by Presbyterian Night Shelter.
In 2017, 40 homeless people were given jobs in Texas. They were paid $10 an hour to collect trash, received benefits such as paid vacation and were also given training so that they could permanently transition into the workforce. One employee, Frank Crist, who had spent almost two years in a shelter said that program had helped him move into an apartment. “It took me about a year, a year-and-a-half, but everything is coming together,” he said.
The workers have collected almost 4,000 tons of trash in a year. “We want a clean neighborhood that speaks hope, that speaks dignity to our homeless guests,” explains CEO of the Presbyterian Night Shelter, Toby Owen. “And it also provides income for these individuals so they can move out and be successful without living in a homeless shelter.”
“They’ve been very responsible, in fact, maybe a little more responsible than your everyday employee that gets hired because they feel like there’s something that they need to prove. That’s how appreciative they are,” said Brandon Bennett, Director of City of Fort Worth. “This is the first real-paying job that most of them had in a very long time” he continued.
It’s important to note that Clean State isn’t the first program of its kind. Chicago, Denver and Portland have similar programs that employ homeless people.