A new EPA program helped clean up San Jose, CA’S polluted Coyote Creek by eliminating trash from homeless encampments and other sources employed homeless people and helped them find housing.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, San Jose’s Mayor Chuck Reed and other groups announced nearly $1 million in funding for the program called Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities.
The program started in July 2011 and lasts through June 2015, and will provide about 50 of the creek’s estimated 100 homeless residents with jobs and temporary housing until they can find permanent housing.
“The job cleaning the creeks is temporary employment, but it’s about rebuilding people’s dignity,” said Eileen Richardson, executive director of Downtown Streets Team, one of the groups involved in running the program.
The four-year pilot program brings together an interdisciplinary partnership that will target improving creek health with a three-prong approach:
- Engage neighbors as creek stewards
- Employ and assist the homeless
- Deter dumping and litter
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