Omaha program pays homeless people $10 an hour to beautify city
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Omaha program pays homeless people $10 an hour to beautify city


OMAHA — Omaha officials and the Salvation Army have devised a new program that would pay homeless people $10 an hour to work with flowers and other plants that beautify the city.

The City Council will vote Tuesday on the program, which they're calling "A Way to Work." 

The program is scheduled to launch next month and will employ six homeless people until the end of September. Participants will work two days a week in the city's greenhouse and prep plants for city parks. The program also provides lunch and access to training and services, such as counseling.

Officials hope the additional services will help participants gain skills needed to find long-term employment, said Maj. Greg Thompson, commander of the Salvation Army's Western Division.

A successful participant could get other employment opportunities with the city, said City Parks Director Brook Bench.

The program is modeled after one in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said she believes "A Way to Work" will be more successful because it offers additional services.

"My ultimate goal would be to end homelessness in the city of Omaha," Stothert said, noting that this program is just a step toward fixing the complicated issue.

The first workers will be selected by the Siena-Francis House, a local homeless shelter. The Salvation Army will screen and employ workers.

The city and the Salvation Army are each providing $50,000 to fund the program. The funds will cover the cost of hiring a program manager, participant wages and other administrative costs.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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