Cleanup Program Gives San Jose’s Homeless a Path to Housing and Employment

This post was written by Lorraine Chowand originally appeared onNationSwell.

Now this is an idea that can potentially transform communities.

In San Jose, Calif., the homeless are being hired to clean the city streets in exchange for food, housing and job placement, theSan Jose Mercury News reports.

This program comes from anovelpartnership betweenGroundwerx,a group that provides cleaning services to downtownSan Jose, and theDowntown Streets Team,a nonprofit that works to combathomelessness in Silicon Valley. According toKTVU, this is a new initiative for the north California city and is being tested for a year.

Everyone wins with this approach since it helps reducethe city’slitter while providing much-needed assistance to people who are down on their luck. Although the program only launched earlier this month, theMercury News reports that it’s already seen its share ofsuccess stories.Participants such asChester Shattuck, 53, who helped clean San Jose’s downtown, wasfinally able to find housing after being on the streets for four years.

Not only that, but participantsare also learning all-important job skills, too. Former high school peer counselor Marcellous McDonald told the publication that thanks to the regularity of his job as a trash collector and working withotherswho also want to get back on track, he was able to find his footing and secure employment with Levi’s Stadium, which is home to the San Francisco 49ers football team.

It’s initiatives like these that prove those without homes need a second chance. “People can be iffy about the homeless, and we are here to show that we don’t want to be homeless anymore,” McDonald said.”I might have lost my way, but I am getting there. Some people are slow to get back at it, some people pick up right where they left off.”

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Christine Jones
Christine J11 months ago

Sounds like a win-win situation, so long as properly paid union workers aren't losing their jobs.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H2 years ago

What a neat idea. Finally, common sense. I had read one place they were "paying" with beer for clean up and then Japan was forcing homeless to work the Fuku clean up.

Elizabeth F.
Elizabeth F2 years ago

good info

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley2 years ago

An excellent idea--one I hope spreads to other cities and states.
Many of the homeless are on the street through little or no fault of their own--and they just want, and need a hand up--they don't want a hand out.

Leia P.
Leia P.2 years ago


Vivianne Mosca-Clark

Good idea. Not all people that live on the street want to do that.

Mahalia W.
Mahalia W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Carole R.
Carole R2 years ago


Rhonda B.
Rhonda B2 years ago

Wonderful news, thank you.