Liccardo said homeless encampments are too often blamed for garbage problems and debris buildup, even though trash comes from a variety of sources.
“We’re going to change the narrative from dismissing our homeless residents as part of the problem, to embracing the opportunity for them to part of the solution, both for themselves and for our community,” Liccardo said.
Mercy Wong, 63, has been searching for housing while living on the street in downtown San Jose for about five months. She’s currently preparing her application for the transitional jobs program, and said the county helped her put together and print out her resume.
She’s lived in San Jose for 24 years, and said she loves the Downtown Streets Team. She hopes to be one of the first workers in the pilot program.
“It really helps us to be strong with ourselves, because I have a very low self esteem,” Wong said.
“They help me lift myself up and be responsible, be a good worker and be just who I am.”
Groups will work four to five hours a day every one to two weeks and the program hopes to create a pipeline for full-time work and stable paychecks.
The program, part of San Jose’s "BeautifySJ" initiative, received large discounts on two trucks from a local vehicle dealership. The city’s transportation and park departments will oversee the cleanup work.