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Hot Springs will pay panhandlers minimum wage for work

by The Associated Press | October 3, 2019 at 2:40 p.m.
Beverly Fitzpatrick stocks the Jackson House food pantry Wednesday. The city announced that Jackson House will be its nonprofit partner in the Hope Works anti-poverty initiative. - Photo by Grace Brown of The Sentinel-Record

HOT SPRINGS — Six months after a federal judge struck down a Hot Springs ordinance that would have restricted panhandling, the city is rolling out a new program that will offer work to the homeless and panhandlers.

The Sentinel-Record reports the announcement of the Hope Works Initiative on Tuesday will pay participants minimum wage to pick up litter from roads and public areas. It’s expected to start by the month’s end.

City Manager Bill Burrough says the program will help individuals connect to other support services offered by nonprofits and local churches.

It will also direct participants to resources such as substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

The city is partnering with Jackson House, a local crisis center. They will staff and oversee the program.

Little Rock adopted a similar program earlier this year.

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