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Cincinnati Could Fund Pilot Program Putting Homeless To Work

Cincinnati is being asked to fund a homeless-to-work pilot program.  The full council could vote on the issue Wednesday.  

It would offer seasonal jobs to 15 to 20 homeless people. Council member Yvette Simpson has been working on the idea with city administrators for several months. 

"Homeless-to-Work is a pilot program intended to help Cincinnati’s homeless citizens become economically self-sufficient through temporary employment followed by resume building and interviewing skills training, which would lead to permanent employment,” Simpson said in a written statement.

The effort is modeled after similar programs in New Mexico and Nevada.

It is a partnership with the city and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, the Parks Board, and Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is,” Simpson said.  “An opportunity to work with a population that so desperately needs it and that is willing.  And to have the Homeless Coalition saying we’re going to have people and resources and we’re going to make sure the individuals who need these services get them.”

The city is being asked to provide $50,000 for the pilot program, which would be matched by private funding.  

Some council members, like Kevin Flynn, are concerned about the additional funding requested for the pilot program.

“I applaud the effort, I like the idea,” Flynn said.  “But I’m not sure why existing programs that our city already funds can’t absorb this program.”

The goal is to test the concept this year and then allow it to continue in the future without city money.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.