Pilot program pays homeless people to clean up trash in East Village – NBC 7 San Diego
A pilot program launched at a homeless encampment in San Diego’s East Village is giving residents a chance to earn money or litter.
The Triangle Project gives residents living along Commercial and 16th streets $2 for every bag of trash they throw away.
Brian Trotier is a retired lawyer who has been volunteering in the neighborhood for a few years. He said he got the idea after talking to people living in the area.
“What I find is that they appreciate being seen, but that’s their solution. All I’ve done is figure out the logistics. They’ve expressed a desire to do it, they’ve expressed frustration at not doing it, but I think we’re going to see some unexpected benefits in all of this,” Trotier said.
Richard Horton says the accumulation of trash is a big concern for everyone who lives there.
“We take it to the little trash can, but it gets too full,” Horton said.
In the three days since the project was launched, Trotier said around 100 bags were collected every day. Garbage collection company EDCO donated a dumpster and sends a truck to the neighborhood from 9 a.m. to noon every Monday and Thursday to haul garbage to the Miramar landfill.
“One of the things you can do is if you take out the trash, they have to see the people, so the general public starts to see humans and not piles of trash,” Trotier said. .
Trotier hopes that if the program is successful, it could reduce the number of days the city needs to sweep streets in the area. Currently they sweep three days a week, requiring people living on the streets to move all their belongings from one side of the road to the other while crews clean.
The pilot program is expected to last until June, for now.
Trotier said some of those who returned the trash used their rewards to do laundry. A block from the camp even went to the grocery store and bought food to throw a taco party for their block, he said.
“If you give these people a fighting chance, you’d be amazed,” said Horton, who was drafted by Trotier to be block captain. Block captains introduced Project Triangle to other locals.