CA Town pays homeless people with COVID money to reward camp clean-up

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Homeless people in a central California city are cleaning up their act and raising federal COVID-19 relief funds to do so.

As part of Elk Grove’s cash-for-trash program, people who sleep rough in empty lots or under bridges receive a $ 20 gift card every time they use the supplied orange plastic bags. by the city to clean up their own mess.

“They are thrilled when we come every Wednesday for the garbage and garbage cleanup,” Jennifer McCue of the Elk Grove Police Department told CBS13 Sacramento.

“We were going, it would just be a huge mess, we would spend hours cleaning and cleaning up,” McCue said. “But now we’re going and their bags are ready.”

The cards can be used at local grocery stores to purchase food and hygiene items – but not for alcohol or cigarettes, city manager Sarah Bontrager told CNN.

“Previously, our public works staff would clean up camp sites… and just spend a lot of time and money doing it,” Bontrager said.

One of the most common complaints about homeless camps is about all the garbage that remains.
As part of Elk Grove’s cash-for-trash program, people who sleep rough in empty lots or under bridges receive a $ 20 gift card every time they use the supplied orange plastic bags. by the city to clean up their own mess.
CBS

With each city cleanup costing staff around $ 1,000 in time and equipment, the program could end up saving money, she said.

“The cost of running this program for over a year was less than $ 10,000, whereas we could have done a month before, just by doing the regular cleanings,” Bontrager said.

One of the most common complaints about homeless camps is about all the garbage that remains.
Cards can be used at local grocery stores to purchase food and hygiene items – but not for alcohol or cigarettes.
CBS

Amy Ross, who lives in a tent camp near an elevated stretch of highway, said she was “shocked” by the city’s outreach effort – but was happy to participate.

“Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean I don’t care,” she says.

Funding for the country’s first program came from federal money Elk Grove received under the CARES Act – the coronavirus relief measure passed by Congress in March 2020 – and from the US Department of Housing and Development urban.

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