"We need to change the narrative from one where we blame or dismiss the homeless as part of the problem, to one which where we're embracing opportunities to engage homeless residents as part of the solution," said Mayor Sam Liccardo.
Homeless individuals will be able to apply for a part-time job through Goodwill and the Downtown Streets Team, making $15 per hour to help clean up streets where trash has been a problem. The program will initially start with 25 participants.
#TODAY: #SanJose announces new pilot program to employ dozens of homeless residents as part of #BeautifySJ litter cleanup program. Part time $15/hr position via Goodwill and Downtown Streets Team. #SiliconValley pic.twitter.com/OoQwz23DpV— Chris Nguyen ABC7 (@ChrisNguyenTV) October 25, 2018
"Many homeless individuals want to work if they're given the opportunity, they're willing to help our community, and we need to provide them a path to self-sufficiency, and these transitional jobs will do that," said Liccardo.
City officials say this isn't meant to be a quick fix, but rather a chance for the homeless to build their skills as they try to get back on their feet and into the workforce.
"I'm hopeful for a new start, to regain what I had before, start a family, get my life right and never go back to the streets again," said Salinas native Manuel Urbina, who applied for the program Thursday afternoon.
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Homeless advocates believe that while it's a step in the right direction, they're hopeful the region will come up with bigger-scale ideas to help solve the crisis.
"We need these types of programs. Public work for people that don't have jobs that pay a living wage, and we don't need a few of them, we need a massive amount of them," said San Jose State University professor Scott Myers-Lipton.
The program will cost around $200,000 and will be funded with money that was originally set aside by the city council to help with litter abatement.
For more stories and videos related to the homeless, visit this page.
#NOW: “What about us?” - Delphina is a senior citizen with multiple sclerosis who is currently living under Highway 87. She’s been homeless in #SanJose for 5 yrs. and says she’d work (if she could) but can’t due to her medical condition. #BetterBayArea pic.twitter.com/mazWXxIKFC— Chris Nguyen ABC7 (@ChrisNguyenTV) October 25, 2018
#LIFE: #SiliconValley is one of the wealthiest places in the world, yet it’s also home to a growing #homeless problem. This camp is located minutes from downtown #SanJose along the train tracks underneath Highway 87. #BetterBayArea pic.twitter.com/WbNyWHEN8c— Chris Nguyen ABC7 (@ChrisNguyenTV) October 25, 2018