The City of Portland’s pilot program, Portland Opportunity Crew, begins today. The program will offer panhandlers the opportunity to earn money to clean up public areas. Workers will be picking up trash and beautifying parks and trails, primarily on the peninsula. Program participants will be paid minimum wage, $10.68 an hour, at the end of each shift.
The City’s Social Services Division is working with the City’s Parks Division to run the program. It will operate two days a week for approximately 36 weeks through November, and on each day up to five people will be hired. The City is partnering with Workforce Solutions and People Ready to link participants with additional services such as job training and employment support.
The program builds on the successes that several other cities have had such as in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and San Jose, California.