Last month, a trio of Los Angeles City Council members from the Harbor Area and the San Fernando Valley proposed a plan aimed at clearing away trash that is cropped up on city streets, sidewalks and alleyways. Their proposed solution is to have the city’s homeless step up to help clean the city. According to council members Joe Buscaino, Bob Blumenfield and Nury Martinez, the presence of trash throughout the city has grown into a huge task and an average of 200 complaints are coming in per day demanding that the rubbish be picked up. The three city leaders want to set up a “pilot program” to hire homeless individuals to be part of crews that clean up trash and litter in public areas.
According to a motion the council members introduced, the city could contract with organizations that would then conduct outreach and recruit people who are homeless, or considered difficult to employ, to do the clean-up work. The city already uses a similar process for its graffiti removal program, in which the jobs have a low bar for entry. The proposal is a bit similar to a program taking place in Albuquerque, New Mexico that employs homeless individuals to do street clean-ups. Neighborhood councils in Northridge have been running a program called “Clean Streets Clean Starts” that offers supermarket gift cards and meals to homeless individuals in exchange for their help in doing community clean-ups. It will be interesting to see if this proposal is actually implemented by Los Angeles.