Program gives homeless population a purpose and a second chance
A new program is gaining steam in in Fort Worth, Texas. It's helping give the city's homeless population a second chance.
This isn't just Frank Crist's daily routine, it's his passion and, his full-time job.
Frank Crist, works for Project Clean Slate, "It just makes you feel better keeping it cleaned up."
$10 an hour, with paid vacation and benefits, just picking up trash.
"It means a lot. With my record and stuff, I really had no other place that would hire me," Crist said.
He has served prison time for drugs and ended up on the street.
"Lost track of my family and everything," Crist said.
Crist lives at the Presbyterian night shelter, which hired him as part of a program called "Clean Slate."
The city pays for it. The shelter runs it.
Toby Owen, the Presbyterian Night Shelter CEO, said, "It is a win-win. We want a clean neighborhood that speaks hope, that speaks dignity to our homeless guests. And it also provides income for these individuals so they can move out and be successful without living in a homeless shelter."
Last year, Clean Slate put 40 homeless people to work not just cleaning up trash on the street, but also working as janitors for businesses.
If the aim is to get homeless back on their feet and off the street, it's working. At least in Crist's case.
Crist said,"It took me about a year, a year and a half, but everything is coming together."
He's about to move into an apartment after 23 months in the shelter.
"It feels great. Didn't think it was ever going to happen again, but now it has," Crist said.
Almost 4,000 tons of trash was collected by clean slate workers last year.
Crist credits program with changing his life and plans on keep the job even after he moves into his new apartment.