The city of Los Angeles, home of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, has the most serious homelessness problem in the nation.
In an effort to address this troubling issue, city officials are contemplating different solutions that could include hiring the homeless population to help clean the streets.
Swamped with complaints about the trash accumulating on the city’s streets, as well as the reports of rodents and other pests, the city developed an app that allows residents to report the issue and have city crews come to the problem area to take care of it.
The app receives about 200 requests a day, making city crews’ jobs harder as the demand for their services only increases.
In order to get two of the city’s most pressing concerns under control, city council members Joe Buscaino, Nury Martinez, and Bob Blumenfield introduced a motion that would make the city hire homeless individuals to respond to calls to clean areas of the city that are covered in litter.
With 57,794 people currently homeless, Los Angeles holds the largest homeless population of all United States cities.
If the motion were to be adopted, homeless people would replace the teams of “highly trained" city employees who are often deployed by the Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Sanitation.
According to the council members currently pushing for this plan, these city workers have skills that “are often needed for more complex projects.” Devoting so much time to cleaning the streets is not an effective use of taxpayer money, they argue.
Why not employ the homeless population instead? They could then use the money to outsource litter collection to organizations that help take care of the homeless.
Using the city’s graffiti removal program as a model, the new plan would allow litter removal groups that employ homeless individuals to be paid by the city for their services.
Thankfully, the entire city council was incredibly supportive of the idea. Now, the measure must be approved by the city’s Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee.
If passed, the plan would help give countless homeless people some income that would then give them access to better shelter, food options, and even health care. This could boost their overall self-confidence and even help them to eventually get off the streets.
Hopefully, this proposal will be put in motion and other similar programs will follow. Putting these initiatives into effect helps those suffering the most because they are meant to empower people in need.