Tempe hoping to provide jobs for the homeless with Tempe Works concept

Posted at 7:36 AM, Sep 25, 2017

Sleeping in city parks, begging for cash on street corners -- no denying there's a homeless problem in Tempe, but a new idea could have a big impact. The city is proposing a jobs program to help the homeless get back on their feet and off the streets. 

It’s the brainchild of City Councilor Randy Keating who says this is a way to try and remedy the problem of homelessness instead of creating another law that just shuffles them around.

He says the estimated cost is $19,000 a year that will support an hourly wage of $10 plus assistance with rent and transportation for work. The money will come from the Community Block Grant, Tempe expects to receive $1.4 million in those federal funds this year. 

If approved, four jobs will be created to start the two-year pilot program. The positions are not currently held by anyone and will include fixing city trash cans and sorting recycling. Keating says if the program is successful, it opens the door to lots of other jobs within the city. 

“I don't think we'll wipe out homelessness -- it's always going to be an issue -- but one of my favorite things about this program is that it's easily scaled up,” said Keating. 

He admits not everyone is fit to work but it'll be up to Tempe Community Action Agency which already handles homeless outreach in the city to vet applicants. 

The council is set to vote on Thursday and could hire by the end of the year.

Tempe offers an online collection of homeless resources, including how you can help.