New Tacoma program will pay people experiencing homelessness to clean up trash

A new program starting in Tacoma looks to not only clean up the streets, but to help people who are most in need get back onto their feet.

Starting in the next few days, the Hire Program will provide $15 per hour jobs to people experiencing homeless to clean up the streets of Tacoma.

"We’re taking a very minimal amount of resources and investing it to pay money directly to those who need it the most, people who are homeless and have no income," said Tacoma City Council Member Robert Thoms.

Thoms is behind the pilot program. He said this program will keep the streets of Tacoma cleaner and help people who are truly in need.

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"It creates long-term stability for them into the future. It’s a springboard to their next job," he said.

Valeo Vocation, an organization focused on helping people experiencing homelessness find jobs and housing, will manage the program.

Q13 News spoke to one family who already knows how impactful this opportunity can be.

"I’ve seen the blessings that we got and I’ve seen how hard life can be and I’m just so grateful for how we have it now. It’s amazing. Our life is amazing," said Elise Ficalora.

RELATED: Report: Washington state homelessness increased 6.2%

For five months during her pregnancy, Ficalora slept in a tent, on a mattress that her boyfriend found in a dumpster. The family had fallen on hard times and was out of places to turn.

However, thanks to a similar job program through Valeo Vocation they say they were able to get out of that situation and now live in a home in Everett.

Thoms said he hopes this new program will offer other people who are struggling in Tacoma the same opportunities. The program starts in early April.

He hopes that after this pilot year, the program is able to continue and grow with the help of local businesses adding to the funding source.

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