Alcoholics need alcohol, streets need to be cleaned; with those two facts in mind, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam has decided to pay alcoholics with beer to help keep the streets tidy.
Searching for a way to quell the disturbances that some alcoholics were causing in one of the city parks, the plan was hatched by the Rainbow Foundation project, which is funded by the state and donations.
“This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women,” Gerrie Holterman, head of the Rainbow Foundation project, told AFP. “The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park.”
The men start the day with two beers, work until lunch, are fed a warm meal with two more beers, continue working, and are then off the clock with another beer, 10 euros (approximately $13) and a half-pack of rolling tobacco.
While the novel approach would likely be maligned in other places, it suits Amsterdam’s pragmatic outlook.
“You have to see things like this: everyone benefits,” said Holterman, “They’re no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day.”
“It gives our lives some structure,” said one of the participants.
Said another, Lots of us haven’t had any structure in our lives for years, we just don’t know what it is, and so this is good for us.
USA Today reports on the story in the video above.