OMAHA – The first participants in a new daily work program for the homeless earn $ 10 an hour as they work in the city's greenhouses preparing flowers and plantings for the city parks.
On Thursday, mayor of Omaha, Jean Stothert, and Maj. Greg Thompson, commander of the Western Salvation Army Division, spoke about the new A Way to Work program.
As part of the program, which will begin next month, the city will pay homeless and panhandlers $ 10 an hour, two days a week, for work that beautifies the city. (The minimum wage in Nebraska is $ 9 per hour.)
The city will also bring workers to workplaces and give them a lunch.
Six people are accepted at the same time; They are presented by the Salvation Army and set. The first participants will be selected by Siena-Francis House.
Thompson said the screening process was not meant to keep people out, but to prepare them for a job. For example, they might need help to identify themselves, he said.
Participants undergo a background check and e-verification.
The program is funded with $ 50,000 each from the City of Omaha and the Salvation Army. Stothert plans to provide funding for the program again next year.
The $ 100,000 will help pay for a program manager (approximately $ 60,000, including benefits), participant wages (approximately $ 20,000), and administrative and other expenses.
According to the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless, in January 2017 there were an estimated 1,389 homeless. About 300 people were classified as chronically homeless.
If the participants do not work, they will receive help and access to training and services, such as: B. advice. Thompson said those who run the program hope to provide participants with skills that will help them find long-term employment.
Brooklands director of city parks said a successful entrant could get a part-time or full-time job in the city. And the workers could help other city departments as the program grows.
Omaha's program is modeled after one in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, Stothert says that Omaha is getting even better due to the extra services.
The program runs from 5 to 30 September, in which six people participate for 90 days.
When people get off, they are replaced so that there are always six people employed.
The city council will vote on Tuesday to approve the program.