Unique Plan Aims to Clean Up American River Parkway
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) — The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a new proposal to clean up the American River Parkway. The plan, which will be voted on Tuesday, is to partner with employment nonprofit PRIDE Industries and hire homeless people to clean up the parkway.
Here are six things to know about the proposed pilot program:
1) When will the program start?
If the board of supervisors approves the plan, cleanup efforts will start in March and last through the end of the year.
2) How many employees will be hired?
Sacramento County, in partnership with PRIDE Industries, plans to hire a total of 40 homeless people throughout the year. They plan to hire homeless people in four groups. Each group will work on the parkway for 10 weeks.
3) Who will be hired?
PRIDE Industries has already started identifying potential workers in its transitional housing program.
“The focus really is to change people’s lives. And that’s our focus here at Pride is through the dignity of employment, give people the opportunity to change their own lives, to make their lives better,” Pride Senior Vice President of Rehabilitation Vic Wursten said. “You can’t really put a price tag on that.”
4) What are the duties of the job?
Workers will spend four hours a day cleaning up the parkway. They will spend the second half of the day training in construction work. According to PRIDE Industries, the end goal is to help the homeless population achieve workforce certifications, internships and eventually permanent job placements. PRIDE plans to work with employees on their resumes, interview clothes and transportation to interviews.
5) What are the costs?
Workers will be paid $12 an hour, according to Supervisor Sue Frost, who is spearheading the effort. The entire pilot program will cost the county $387,200.
“We’re spending taxpayer dollars to help them help themselves,” Frost said. “The reality is that each individual who’s homeless statistically costs us around $49,000 a year. So, spending taxpayer dollars to give them a leg up and help them get a job and out of homelessness is actually saving the taxpayers money.”
The pilot program will mainly be funded by the county’s parks budget by using money already allocated toward cleanup efforts, Frost said.
6) Which areas will be cleaned?
Cleanup efforts will focus on the entire stretch of the parkway from Rancho Cordova to Discovery Park, but will mainly focus on Discovery Park. The parks division cleared more than 5,600 homeless camps and more than 1,600 tons of trash in 2018, Frost said.