Additional funding needed for plan to put homeless in Spokane to - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Additional funding needed for plan to put homeless in Spokane to work

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

The President of Downtown Spokane says he has a plan in place to curb homelessness in Spokane, but the program just needs additional funding. 

"We have this program ready to launch," Mark Richard said on Facebook. "Goodwill will manage the program and is helping with funding along with the City and DSP." 

The program Richard is referring to is based off the "There's a Better Way" program Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry launched to deter panhandling. 

"The goal of the campaign is to give panhandlers a chance at a change in life and provide caring members of our community with a better way to donate their money," the City of Albuquerque said in a press release. That program is similar to Spokane's "Give Real Change," which is already in place. 

Richard wants to add on another aspect of Albuquerque's program: Putting the homeless to work. 

In Albuquerque, a contracted van drives around town putting the people you see on the street, to work. The City offers $9 an hour for a day's work and the van goes around five days a week picking up as many as 10 workers. 

Eventually, Richard says the program, called "Hope Works," will model Albuquerque's program. But for the first 18 months "Hope Works" will recruit volunteers. The volunteers won't be paid hourly, instead be given a money donation at the end of each day.

Richard says one of the benefits includes working side-by-side with Goodwill employees to receive training and access to full-time employment.

Richard says STA has donated a van, Catholic Charities has pitched in a trailer, tools and emergency shelter, however $60,000 to $80,000 more is needed for a driver and a social worker.

Richards says you can help get the program off the ground by giving a $5.00 donation by texting the word "Change" to 50555. Richard also plans on launching a GoFundMe page within 15 to 30 days. 

On his Facebook page, Richard encourages anyone who can help fund the project to send him a message on Facebook. 

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