Public Works creates opportunities for those in need and addresses blight
Kansas City CALL Newspaper Inc
Kansas City is launching a new program to create jobs for houseless individuals while beautifying neighborhoods. Hope Faith cart used to beautify KC streetsStarting in mid-September, KC Public Works will partner with Hope Faith Ministries and Creative Innovators to hire houseless individuals for a fair wage. The City is investing $300,000 in a new program where individuals identified and selected through partner organizations will be paid at least $15 per hour for their services in this one-year pilot program. “I just need that chance. I know I have much to offer,” Clean Up KC Contractor, Melissa said. Kansas City is committed to solutions that provide opportunities to residents regardless of their housing status. This program aims to assist people who are looking for that opportunity. Through the program, 15 individuals will be hired to work in neighborhoods across the city. A second team will focus on the Historic Northeast. Teams may expand to other parts of the city and participate in neighborhood cleanups. “Clean Up KC is addressing the needs of our community head on in an innovative way. Not only does it give people a chance to restart their life, but it helps keep Kansas City clean. Residents will know there is a dedicated team of people working to make their neighborhoods cleaner, safer, and more beautiful every day,” City Manager Brian Platt said. In addition to beautification efforts, this project will also include snow removal in the winter months. During snowfall, contracted employees will clear snow in Downtown areas. A team in the Northeast, through Creative Innovators, will help identify abandoned encampments and clean refuse. They will also work with Solid Waste to remove bulky items they are unable to easily pick up. In August, Creative Innovators began their work in the Historic Northeast. In that time, they removed more than 30 tons of blight while connecting with people experiencing homelessness and help direct them to services. “Employment can be a pathway out of poverty and provide a sense of inclusion. It also isn’t just a means of financial stability. If we think about the jobs we have had throughout our lives, they can connect us with a feeling of self-worth and meaning. We have more road to travel, but this is a great start,” Houseless Prevention Coordinator, Josh Henges said. “With the city’s staffing vacancies in the Public Works department, this program creates a mutually beneficial opportunity. It provides supportive services and a living wage to individuals while beautifying our city,” 5th District Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw and Chair of the Houseless Task Force said. When Clean Up KC contractors are ready for their next step up in life the Full Employment Council will be there to assist with job training tailored to their skills and interests. This partnership allows participants to move forward toward a bright future. “This partnership would enable people who are experiencing houselessness to train for a career while helping improve our community and earning an income. We feel that this system of support enabled through this three-way partnership of the Public Works Department, Hope Faith Ministries, and the Full Employment Council will facilitate career achievement and economic stability for those persons assisted through this effort,” Full Employment Council CEO, Clyde McQueen said.