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‘Glendale Works’ Program Strives to Create Jobs and Reduce Homelessness
Phoenix Rescue Mission and the City of Glendale have partnered for a new pilot program called “Glendale Works,” a workforce development program aimed at reducing homelessness in Glendale by providing homeless individuals day work cleaning city property.
The public-private collaboration addresses the recent rise in certain segments of the homeless population. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s point-in-time count data, the number of unsheltered or chronically homeless people has increased significantly from 2014 to 2017 – growing 149 percent in Maricopa County from 2014 to 2018 and increasing 290 percent from 2011 to 2018 in Glendale.
The uptick caused a surge of homeless camps and panhandlers, putting the city at risk of increased homeless-related issues, including property damage, trash buildup and health and safety concerns.
“Glendale Works is an opportunity for someone who wants to turn their life around to take that first step,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers. “They get paid to work, which helps restore dignity back to them, while saving money that our city would otherwise already be spending on beautification. We needed to come up with a workforce-based solution to get people off the streets, but we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
The program is designed to locate homeless individuals, pick them up from a set location and give them the opportunity to earn real wages and connect with services. The participants work with Phoenix Rescue Mission and the city’s Parks Division to conduct beautification projects – removing trash and performing landscaping duties in city parks, trails and washes.
“Since we first took this program to the streets in November, we’ve touched the lives of so many individuals by taking them off the streets and offering them real work and access to necessary resources to end their cycle of homelessness,” said Phoenix Rescue Mission CEO Jay Cory. “As a result, we fully expect to see an improvement in the lives of the entire community, from the residents and business owners to those who are struggling to survive on the streets. This program is a win-win for everyone.”
Participants who are interested in changing their life situation can connect with a Phoenix Rescue Mission case manager who will work with them to receive behavioral health services, job preparedness training, healthcare, housing opportunities and other potential resources.