According to the Arizona Department of Economics Security, the homeless population in Tempe is more than 2,700.
“It’s the biggest problem in our city according to residents and stakeholders in a recent survey,” said Randy Keating, a Tempe city councilman.
In an effort to make a change, the Tempe City Council cleared the way for the concept of a new program, which would be the first of its kind in Arizona, called Tempe Works.
“It provides jobs for homeless individuals in the city of Tempe by partnering with our Corporate Job Bank and Tempe Community Action Agency to identify and employ Tempe’s homeless for city beautification projects," said Keating.
It will only be roughly four jobs to start, but Tempe Works could eventually turn into dozens of jobs.
Participants will be paid the state's new minimum wage of $12 an hour.
“Not only will we be providing jobs to Tempe’s homeless, we will also be providing transportation to and from the job sites, housing, wraparound services and a path to greater self-sufficiency," said Keating.
It’s a program that wouldn’t cost the city much.
“For only $19,000, we are going to immeasurably change people’s lives. I think that’s money well spent," said Keating.
Next up is the Sept. 28 council meeting. If approved, the program could start at the end of 2017.