Wilmington offers day-to-day jobs to clean the city

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki stands with Apostle John T. Graham of Temple United Church and neighborhood residents employed to clean city streets and neighborhoods in West Center City. (City of Wilmington)

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki stands with Apostle John T. Graham of Temple United Church and neighborhood residents employed to clean city streets and neighborhoods in West Center City. (City of Wilmington)

A new program will offer a day’s employment to Wilmington residents, paying them to clean up their neighborhoods.

City residents who may not be physically or emotionally ready for full-time employment can earn some extra money as part of the Wilmington Beautiful City Initiative. The city will partner with nonprofits around the city to hire local residents who will work one day at a time to clean up their community.

“Some of our citizens are in need of additional money to sustain themselves, so we’re trying to solve two problems at once through a partnership with five community organizations that also care about creating employment and keeping Wilmington clean,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki.

Those partners include the Redding Foundation in eastside Wilmington; the Achievement Center in northeast Wilmington; Temple United Church in west center city; and Our Youth, Inc. in the western portion of the Wilmington. Each agency will get $30,000 from the Real Estate and Housing Department to employ up to 25 people a day for several days a week.

The idea is modeled after a similar program in Maryland. Purzycki said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh told him the program was one of her favorites.

“Not everybody’s ready to be employed full time. Not everybody is ready to make an emotional commitment to go to work. So here’s a case where people can work for a day, to do something meaningful for their community,” he said.

The results are self-evident, the mayor said, as he witnessed during a recent stop in the west center city area.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a gum wrapper on the ground because the people who are doing this are a remarkable bunch of people,” Purzycki said. “If we can replicate this throughout the city, we’ll transform our city.”

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