SACRAMENTO, CA (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UPDATED 1:05 PM PT – Sunday, April 11, 2021
A California city is paying homeless people to clean up their encampments. According to recent reports, the city of Elk Grove, which is just south of Sacramento, has offered homeless people $20 grocery store gift cards each time they tidy up their tents.
The move was part of a program that aims to address complaints of trash left in homeless camps. According to city officials, the program was funded by the CARES Act and the Department of Housing. It has saved the city thousands of dollars.
A mixture of an unhoused person’s belongings and other debris covers a sidewalk outside of their shelter before Los Angeles City Sanitation workers conduct a cleanup sweep of a homeless encampment during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
“We could easily have spent $10,000 a month on that program, on just doing regular clean-ups,” Elk Grove Housing and Public Service Manager Sarah Bontrager said. “And now, our entire program, operating it for about a year we haven’t even spent $10,000.”
While Elk Grove is the first city to adopt this type of program, it is now drawing attention to other cities in the area as well.