Metro Council member pitches putting the homeless to work

Louisville councilman pushes to put homeless population to work
Don Reynolds said he wants a job, but it's hard to get one. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Don Reynolds said he wants a job, but it's hard to get one. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In Jefferson County, there are thousands of homeless people seeking services. A plan implemented in Albuquerque, NM, to connect the homeless with odds jobs could come to Louisville.

The program collects donations and is used to pay wages for those completing tasks around the city. In Albuquerque, landscaping and trash pickup are a part of the jobs.

"Right now metro government does spend a lot of resources trying to help those in need, and I think there is a way to better use those resources," Councilman David Yates (D-District 25) said.

Some homeless people we talked to like the idea.

"I don't want a hand out, I want a hand up," Don Reynolds said.

Reynolds is homeless and said he can't find a job. It's part of the reason Yates said he wants to implement the program.

"They've got that stigma because we are homeless and people are like, 'You are not worth it,'" Reynolds said.

Johanna Wint, Director of Center of Hope, stresses the importance of making a living wage. She said 70% of those in their shelter work full time.

"People automatically have this idea of what homelessness is," Wint said. "But if we can just set that aside and look at the person and ask how we can help -- it makes a better fit when you are trying to find someone to work for you."

Wint, along with the Salvation Army, provides culinary training for the homeless to find jobs in the restaurant industry.

"We also want this to pipeline to permanent employment," Yates said.

Yates is partnering with non-profits and seeking sponsors for vans to provide transportation for future participants.

Reynolds said these are the first steps to fill a void that is debilitating.

"We are out here because we can't get the help we need," he said.

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