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Dec. 6 - Union Mission Awarded Litter Clean Team Program from City of Savannah

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

December 6, 2019 - The City of Savannah awarded Union Mission with a $140,400 contract for the Litter Clean Team Litter Removal Program to help expand solid waste service capabilities and improve community cleanliness in the city’s downtown areas beginning December 2019.

The one-year contract will enable the Litter Clean Team to provide afternoon litter pick up three days a week from 1:00pm – 5:00pm along identified major corridors including historic squares, Emmett Park, Morrell Park, River Street including Rousakis Plaza and Bay Street Strand. The program will allow Union Mission to provide job training and employment for work-ready homeless individuals and persons living with disabilities experiencing challenges to obtaining employment.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Savannah on this initiative,” said Union Mission Executive Director, Patricia Youngquist. “Our clients will see the value of their work by enhancing the community. It can be a stepping stone to their next success.”

The program was conceived by the City of Savannah after Union Mission brought two-term Albuquerque Mayor, Richard Berry, to be the keynote speaker at their 2019 Raising Hope signature event. Berry is known for his innovative approach to government, including teaching entrepreneurial skills to public sector employees. His “Albuquerque Heading Home” initiative housed over 700 chronically homeless while saving taxpayers over $5 million dollars. Berry’s “There’s a Better Way” initiative hires the homeless and panhandlers to clean up the city and connects those individuals to needed services and treatment.  These initiatives have received national and international attention and are being replicated throughout the country. Berry’s TED talk on the subject currently has over a million views (https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_j_berry_a_practical_way_to_help_the_homeless_find_work_and_safety).

Savannah’s Litter Clean Team program mirrors “There’s a Better Way” initiative and aligns with the City of Savannah strategic plan goals to re-establish and preserve neighborhoods and provide workforce development for the unemployed and underemployed. Youngquist says the program will help the homeless transition back in to the community through this specific work program. It is just one of the many programs offered by Union Mission to help those integrate and transition back into society.

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