Keep a look out on the road! Starting mid-March, you will be seeing a team of newly employed individuals picking up litter around our city streets and state highways. The City of Modesto is forming a partnership with Ready To Work (RTW) and the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to initiate the Homeless Employment Litter Program (HELP).
In 2019, we received an extensive number of complaints and requests for services on issues regarding blight and homelessness. This partnership grants us the opportunity to beautify our city through blight abatement services while helping those experiencing homelessness get back on their feet through employment support. Caltrans will be allotting $100,000 annually for blight abatement on State right-of-ways. In addition, the City will be allotting $50,000 annually from the City’s Commercial Litter Abatement Fee for blight abatement on city right-of-ways.
In efforts to support our City’s Strategic Plan, we have chosen to contract with Ready to Work, a nonprofit organization founded in Stockton. RTW creates opportunities where individuals who are either experiencing or at-risk of homelessness gain employment support while generating clean streets. RTW has also been very successful in transitioning individuals into full-time employment and permanent housing. Along with a market level compensation, employees will receive an employment plan to help secure graduation from the program, as well as assistance with resume building, filling out applications, interviewing and much more.
RTW will also be providing monthly reports on statistics such as the amount of litter collected and the number of individuals who have secured full-time employment and permanent housing. This information will be conducive to further improve strategies pertaining to homelessness and blight in Modesto.
Applicants will be assessed primarily at the Access Center located at the newly constructed Salvation Army facility. Here, case managers will determine which applicants are ready for employment. Our HELP teams will be composed of approximately five individuals per team and will work four days out of week on sections of Highway 132 (Maze Boulevard), Highway 219 (Kiernan Avenue) and Highway 99. One day out of the week will be dedicated to other hot spots throughout Modesto.
Complementary to a more beautiful city, our goal is to develop a platform that will give individuals all the tools needed to become self-sufficient. We acknowledge that these efforts cannot be made without the help of everyone involved. For this reason, I would like to thank Ready To Work and the California Department of Transportation for partnering with our city to tackle two of our biggest concerns.
With the amazing efforts of the Downtown Streets Team, already tirelessly at work cleaning Modesto streets, we now have a vast network of teams covering both City and State right-of-ways.
We're relentlessly tackling this challenge.