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Program giving jobs to panhandlers exceeds goals

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 08:55:28-04

TULSA -- A pilot program aimed at getting panhandlers connected with jobs has exceeded their original goals. 

A Better Way wanted to reach 100 people in their first six months. Instead, they reached almost 400. 

The program picks up panhandlers throughout the city and allows them to work for a day. They are paid $60 and put in touch with resources to get a long term job. The groups also provide them with resources to keep the job.

John Hughes got involved with the program and it changed his life. 

"I have an apartment. I have a car, a dog," Hughes said. "It's changed 100-percent. I'm not on the street. I'm not worried about where I'm going to sleep."

Hughes was homeless for 18 months. He said he worked as a day laborer trying to get a full-time job so he could support himself. 

"I was just trying to get a job," Hughes said. "I was applying at McDonalds. You know when fast food turns you down you know your outlook is kind of..." 

Now he has a job in construction that he has been with for four months. He even has other workers from A Better Way he now works with. 

The group Wednesday picked up trash. They hoped their story could end like Hughes' did. 

"I'm trying to find a better way and do the things I like to do, so I am reaching out to people who can help. I need the help," Dawone Young who was working with A Better Way said. 

He has been homeless for two weeks now. He is trying to change that. 

"Out here in the rain, because I want it," Young said. 

Between picking up trash, Young and seven others were given lunch and talked with someone about their job interests. 

Of the almost 400 who have been involved with the program since it launched, 87 have taken advantage of recovery and employment services. 


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