The Bridge to Work program in Little Rock, Arkansas, that started in April pays the homeless $9.25 an hour, more than minimum wage, to clear trash, to help them get their lives back on track.
It started with a six-month trial, but the results impressed Mayor Frank Scott Jr, so he decided to extend it through September 2020. Managed by the Canvas Community Church, the city has spent $80,000 on the scheme.
Pastor Paul Atkins said that the program has successfully impacted the community, and they are excited with the results and hope to keep the momentum going.
Moreover, participants have also been offered physical and mental health treatment, job interviews and some of them even got a roof over their head.
Atkins added that they intend to work with the participants on their next step, as there are multiple barriers that these people experience to go from homelessness and panhandling to full-time work.
Numerous poor people signed up through the church, and many were approached on the streets to join in. Atkins informed that 158 panhandlers had been approached and 44 accepted the invitation.
About 380 people have signed up for the program, and they are divided into teams of eight. Within five months, a total of 130 sites were cleaned, 2,056 bags of trash were cleared, and 1,821 hours worked.
One of the local leaders, Felecia Cooks, said that the decision of the mayor to renew the program for another year made her want to cry out with tears of joy. Yet, she added that she never doubted as she knew their potential.
She maintains that people loved the vision, and the program is just a dream come true for the entire community, and it has been the most exciting thing that she has done in her life.
Atkins added that to make the program bigger and better, they need folks to walk with their friends on a one-on-one basis.
Board members Capi Peck, Lance Hines, and Kathy Webb all confirmed the satisfactory results from Bridge to Work’s first five months, and Peck called the program a “win-win.”
Numerous people praised the scheme, believing that other stated should follow the example, as it benefits the city and a large number of homeless.
People believe it is a brilliant way to improve the community in various ways and give the homeless a chance.
Great job, Arkansas! Thumbs up!