New program aims to get panhandlers off streets by offering them work in Portland

Program to reduce panhandling

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Most people in Maine have likely seen panhandlers on busy intersections in cities and even towns across the state.

Officials have tried different approaches to discourage panhandling but nothing has seemed to work.

The city of Portland is putting together a new program modeled after ones working in other cities around the country that offers panhandlers minimum wage to work at jobs that are unfilled around the city. 

On Monday NEWS CENTER spoke with Derek. He is a 31 year old who was out panhandling at one of the busiest intersetions in Portland.

Derek says he doesn't want to be asking for money on the street but he doesn't have a job and he needs to make money to support his 6 year old daughter and pay for food. 

The new program being developed in Portland could give someone like Derek work, cleaning up the city's parks. It's work Derek says he would welcome. 

Julie Sullivan, senior advisor to the Portland City Manager, says the program is a win for everyone. 

Not only will needed work get done in the city but Sullivan says panhandlers will be able to find a pathway to employment, job training and other support services. 

Derek says he wants people to know that he is a good person.

"I would try hard if I had an opportunity to show myself, to show people what I can do."

Derek makes about 20 to 30 dollars a day panhandling, he says so making $10.68 an hour two days a week would be a big help. 

 

Copyright 2017 WCSH


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