Los Angeles Is Considering A Plan To Pay The Homeless For Picking Up Trash

Los Angeles wants to tackle the “growing concern” of trash in the city by outsourcing the task to “social justice organizations.” A committee for the Los Angeles City Council heard plans for a pilot program Wednesday (Nov. 1) that would allow the homeless to be hired to remove small amounts of trash from city streets, alleyways, sidewalks and medians.

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The city receives an average of “200 requests per day” for trash removal, according to the motion, co-authored by city council members Joe Buscaino,  Bob Blumenfield and Nury Martinez.

“Daily litter maintenance should be outsourced to social justice organizations that have both the capacity to meet the City’s need and ability to assist vulnerable individuals,” the motion reads noting that the Transitional Job Opportunities Program gives preference to organization that hire and provide supportive services for “transitional employees.”

As of now, litter pick up is a “reactive service” mostly focussed on “bulky items and illegal dumping,” but there are smaller trash issues that the city could use to help the homeless get back on their feet.

“The chance to work, to know what it’s like to have the dignity of a job, to show up and to learn on those skills will get you back in the work force,” said Michael Graff-Weisner,  VP of Strategy at of Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization aimed at providing “resources and support” to help the homeless find employment.

The motion request that the City Administrative Officer, the Department of Public Work, Bureau of Sanitation, the Office of Community Beautification, and other departments as needed “report with recommendations to establish a framework for a pilot program that would employe homeless individuals to clean proactively litter from the public right-of-way on a regular, ongoing basis.”

The city will officially approve the proposal once the report is completed within the next three months.

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