Kansas City Gives Jobs to its Most Vulnerable Residents—And Housing Soon Followed

​credit Brittini Holland

In a pilot program to address the homelessness problem in Kansas City, the state gave them part-time work which helped many of them secure the housing they desperately needed.

Kansas City Missouri has seen a decrease in litter collection as the pandemic created a slowdown in court cases and community service clean-up programs.

By putting 26 of the city’s roughly 1,800 homeless folks to work cleaning the streets they happen to sleep on, it cleared two hurdles in one sprint, removing more than 67,000 pounds of trash by the end of the work period, and giving the homeless workers the ability to put “employed” on a housing application.

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“We really wanted to focus on people that were homeless in the truest sense of the word,” said Doug Langner, executive director of Hope Faith, a Christian non-profit that helps over 200 homeless in the city.

“It was an awkward feeling at first: they’re punching-in in the day, [and] they punch out and are back on the streets that night,” he told Fast Company.

Hope Faith was able to afford to employ 5 homeless workers at $15 an hour, 4 of whom secured long-term housing at the end of the 3-month work-trial period.

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Another non-profit Creative Innovative saw 6 of their 21 workers make it into housing.

In January the program will expand to 46 trash collectors, half homeless and half long-term prison inmates reentering society, funded by 7 non-profits.

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