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

This post was written by Lorraine Chow and originally appeared on NationSwell.

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, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

This program comes from a novel partnership between Groundwerx, a group that provides cleaning services to downtown San Jose, and the Downtown Streets Team, a nonprofit that works to combat homelessness in Silicon Valley. According to KTVU, 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 reduce the city’s litter while providing much-needed assistance to people who are down on their luck. Although the program only launched earlier this month, the Mercury News reports that it’s already seen its share of success stories. Participants such as Chester Shattuck, 53, who helped clean San Jose’s downtown, was finally able to find housing after being on the streets for four years.

Not only that, but participants are 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 with others who 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.”

Read more from NationSwell:

Here’s A New Website Bringing Unemployed Veterans and Understaffed Tech Companies Together

This Innovative Program Found Housing for 200 Homeless Veterans in Just 100 Days


Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Christine Jones
Christine J1 years ago

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

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 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 F3 years ago

good info

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley3 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.3 years ago


Vivianne Mosca-Clark

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

Mahalia W.
Mahalia W3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago


Rhonda B.
Rhonda B3 years ago

Wonderful news, thank you.