Park clean-up hopes for clear path to employment: 'They get to give back'

Gresham park.jpg

After a successful program last year that saw volunteers pick up nearly 6,600 bags of trash, the City of Gresham and Central City Concern have teamed up for a larger program that will provide job experience to a dozen homeless people every week.

"Kind of reacquaint them," said city spokesperson Elizabeth Coffey. "They get to give back to the community and they'll get a great letter of recommendation at the end that will help them on their journey."

The homeless people get a stipend for the work they put in. Tasks include clearing abandoned homeless camps, as well as landscaping, such as weeding.

The program launched in March and will go year-round. 480 volunteer hours have already been put in.

"It really helps our staff out, we have a resource that we can call on five days," Coffey said. "'Hey, we've got an area in this park that really needs to be cleaned up.'"

Park-goers already say they noticed there's less trash and debris around the city's parks.

"It's much better now," said Patricia Poulalion. "They've cleaned it up really well."

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off