How homeless people can help clean up Tucson

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-30 16:18:48-05

Elected officials from Tucson and Pima County, along with community partners, announced the creation of a new program designed to help homeless people and beautify the area.

The concept behind the Tucson Homeless Work Program is simple: put homeless people to work cleaning up parts of the city that need it.

It will officially begin December 1st, after a year of collaboration between private agencies and Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres.

“This will bring everyone together to help our most-needy and our most vulnerable citizens,” Fimbres said.

Two days a week agencies will pick up homeless people, take them to an area to work for half a day, then take them to get food, medical care and other counseling in the afternoon.

Tom Litwicki, CEO of Old Pueblo Community Services, a program partner, says offering a job is more beneficial to someone trying to get back on their feet than a handout.

“You see an immediate increase in self-worth and a sense of this positive future and what they might be able to do,” Litwicki said.

Fimbres says the benefits will be city-wide as people clean landscaping and clear debris is parts of Tucson city staff can't otherwise get to. “We have a lot of seniors who are too elderly, too homebound, and they can’t clean up areas [near their homes] so this will be part of that project.”

Currently, the pilot program has enough money to last for two years. Fimbres and Litwicki hope once that time and money runs out business donations and donations from people will sustain it.