LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - One East Texas city is finding success in dealing with the homeless issue through a resourceful initiative, putting them to work.
We see the homeless often on the streets and alleys of our cities."Everybody deserves dignity, and a chance to be proud of themselves.
And sometimes you slip into a situation that's hard to get out of without someone helping you out of that hole," says Longview mayor Dr. Andy Mack.
Mack needed something to address the problem.
"Homelessness is something everybody wants to sweep under the rug, and this issue needed a solution," Mack says. The proposed answer? Trash. More specifically, picking it up.
In partnership with House of Disciples, the homeless get paid 8 dollars an hour to pick up trash, and the program has started to pay off on both ends.
"When someone walks through the door and says I need a job I need help I need something to better me and bridge me out of the poverty situation I'm in. Dignity plays a role in that and we want to put that back in people's lives," says House of Disciples director Tim Wiseman.
"They have picked up over 300 bags of trash, 55-gallon bags of trash that's 50 bags a week. We're doing something for them, but they are doing something for us. What I'm most pleased about is how our community has embraced this idea" the mayor says. And a way back for those who want it.
"Homeless individuals that want a way out of this lifestyle, have a way out," Mack says. For those who choose to accept it, the House of Disciples also offers a recovery program to those involved in the 'homeless work initiative' who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction.