Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanks.Giving: Denver Launches Programs To Employ The Homeless

Well, even though the country—not most of the country, though—elected a Republican President earlier this month, there are glimmers of hope that we aren’t going to become a racist, xenophobic, working for the betterment of the wealthy, screw the poor, society just yet.

Out there in Denver, Colorado, local officials have started a new program to provide thousands of paying jobs to the homeless. It all started on November 1st, when “Denver Day Works” hopes to put thousands of the city’s homeless to work doing things like public park maintenance, planting trees, clearing snow, etc.

And anyone can apply; Julie Smith, the Denver Human Services spokeswoman, says they’re aiming for “low to no barriers. No background checks. Do you want work? We’re going to put you to work today”

The program hopes to employ at least 300 homeless people and then keep at least half that number for regular work and the idea that participation may lead to future employment opportunities. The participants are paid at the end of each day—wages start at $12.59 an hour—and there are both full-day and half-day work schedules; the program is similar to that of paid internships, though the participants may only earn a maximum of $600.

The reason for that maximum pay is so the participants will be connected with more job opportunities, and more jobs, and yet, for now, avoid having to file taxes. And for those who might scream that the homeless are taking “our jobs,” that isn’t true; city staffers, and others who already do such work will still be working.

This is good news for the homeless community in Denver, and for those homeless in other cities who may want to start their own programs. Denver has already started a cafe—Purple Door Cafe—that employs homeless youth.

Purple Door Coffee offers employment for a year to homeless youth who want to move on to full-time employment elsewhere. Not only is work provided, but the employees are taught how to deal with mental and emotional stress, budgeting their income, and banking.

It’s nice that, at this time of the year, we are giving back to those who need our help, and I hope that, if this idea works, it can be implemented around the country. People deserve a fair chance, and respect, no matter who they are, or how they live, or what they’ve done.


the dogs' mother said...

Glad to hear that. :-)

anne marie in philly said...

FABU! we could use a program like this in philly!