HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The City of Hot Springs is working to beautify the community while also helping those in need. They partnered with Jackson House, a non-profit, to employ the homeless and working poor to pick up trash along the city streets. The program is called Hope Works.
City Manager Bill Burrough said he and other city leaders have been working on this program for years.
“It’s taken a while to get off the ground. We had hoped to do this earlier in the year but with COVID we had to postpone,” Burrough said.
Now, they have crews lining major thoroughfares picking up litter in exchange for $10 and hour.
“These individuals can sign up, work four to five hours a day, and get paid at the end of that day,” Burrough said.
It’s called Hope Works and the city is hiring people from Jackson House, a non-profit known for giving meals and resources to those in need. Robert West has been involved with Jackson House for about a year and is now one of the new employees with the pink trash bag.
“It’s an awesome program to me. It gets me out, gets me exercise,” West said.
Not only is it a good workout, but it’s giving him some much-needed cash that’s not exactly easy to come by these days.
“It’s hard to get a job out here so it’s a little more money in my pocket,” West said.
Burrough said he has even bigger plans for Hope Works.
“Connecting them with resources that may be able to help them in developing trust that can help these individuals in breaking that bond of poverty and homelessness,” Burrough said.
He said the end goal is for this program to be a stepping stone to a better career and better life.
“This sounds cliché but it really is a helping hand up not a helping hand out,” Burrough said.
Crews are out three times a week for about four hours. There is already a waiting list to join.