Homeless to help clean up downtown Vancouver

first_imgA program starting next year aims to clean up downtown Vancouver and employ homeless people in the process.Talkin’ Trash is the name of a joint effort between the city of Vancouver’s solid waste department and Share, a local homeless service provider.“We are always addressing litter issues,” said Tanya Gray, the city’s solid waste supervisor. “We’ve heard from both residences and businesses downtown.”A couple of months ago, Gray noticed that the city wasn’t fully spending its budget for inmate work crews, which are hired to supplement cleanup efforts by city employees. With those leftover funds, a $72,000 grant was created to pilot Talkin’ Trash. The city will provide a truck.“We’ve never had a project that was funded by the sanitation department,” said Amy Reynolds, deputy director of Share.The plan is to hire a small crew from Share’s clientele. Workers will be paid Washington’s 2017 minimum wage, $11 per hour. They would work about 15 hours weekly. Most of that time will be spent outdoors doing cleanup, but it will also include job training through Partners in Careers, Reynolds said. Participants will get help crafting r?sum?s, setting employment goals and learning skills such as conflict resolution and interviewing.Gray sees the benefit as twofold: The solid waste department gets a more regular presence to help clean up downtown, protecting public health and the environment. And Share’s clients work toward self sufficiency. Share used to take part in the Adopt-a-Highway program, where volunteers clean up an “adopted” stretch of state highway periodically.last_img

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