- Associated Press - Friday, May 5, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Maine’s largest city has launched a pilot program that pays panhandlers to pick up trash in an effort to keep them off the streets.

The Portland Press Herald reports (https://bit.ly/2pGPAcL ) the 36-week initiative started Thursday.

Two days a week, staff will take a city van to areas popular with panhandlers to ask them if they would like to earn $10.68 an hour, the city’s minimum wage. Up to five people could participate in each six-hour workday. The city will also provide them with breakfast and lunch.

City officials say the goal is to connect people with support services that would help them enter the workforce permanently.

The initiative is similar to programs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and San Jose, California.

The pilot program is estimated to cost $42,000.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, https://www.pressherald.com


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