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Wheels Of Change Expands, To Hire More Homeless People For Street Clean Up

A Wheels of Change van is pictured in this undated photo.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A Wheels of Change van is pictured in this undated photo.

Last year, the non-profit organization Alpha Project launched Wheels of Change, which pays homeless people minimum wage to spend a few hours cleaning up city streets.

Now, the program is set to expand after it raised over half a million dollars — including $250,000 from the city of San Diego.

Starting this week, Wheels of Change added a second van to its fleet and is sending out 20 homeless people every weekday to clean up neighborhoods.

This year, the organization is aiming to give jobs to more than 5,000 people as it expands its services to more days of the week.

RELATED: San Diego Homeless People To Earn Minimum Wage Cleaning Trash, Graffiti

Workers go out to neighborhoods across San Diego in four-hour shifts, and are paid in cash, Alpha Project president Bob McElroy said.

“They get to take home $48 each day, which is nice and all, but a lot of this is just getting people some respect back from the community, being out there and helping out,” he said.

Wheels of Change was the idea of then-teenager Kevin Barber, and his mom, Carolyn Barber. They had been inspired by a similar program in New Mexico.

By Reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler

Last year, the non-profit organization Alpha Project launched Wheels of Change, which pays homeless people minimum wage to spend a few hours cleaning up city streets. Now, the program is set to expand after it raised more than half a million dollars — including $250,000 from the city of San Diego.

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