New work program to help Fresno homeless

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Fresno is taking steps to combat homelessness by helping people get to work.

"Our residents of Fresno are equally God's creation and also deserve shelter, but beyond shelter, they deserve job training, support services to become regular members of our city and embrace in the economic prosperity," said Councilmember Miguel Arias.

Fresno city leaders are taking steps to change homelessness with a new workforce development program just announced Wednesday.

More than 1,000 people are estimated homeless in Fresno.

Adora "Dory" Espinoza is one of them, dealing with health issues and disability.

"How do you work under circumstances like this? How do you stay emotionally, physically on top of your game so that you can go to work at a scheduled time and scheduled place," Espinoza said.

The new pilot program is part of $3 million in funds from the state to address the homeless population.

"Fresno EOC will train approximately 15 individuals over the 17-month period. Crew members will be paid $13 an hour for approximately ten hours a week," said Emily Reyes, CEO of EOC. "We believe with hope, adequate resources, and opportunities, everyone can reach their fullest potential."

We were able to see some of the work the Economic Opportunities is doing now to help people with job training.

The program is a collaboration between the EOC and the City of Fresno.

It will also help participants get connected to services.

"Not only does it offer job training and work experience, but it will also provide litter abatement and maintenance near homeless delivery sites," said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

The Poverello House and two other centers will be cleaned as a part of the effort.

The city council will vote to approve the contract on Thursday.

In the future, the city of Fresno will receive $11.5 million to fight homelessness from the state.

Fresno council members will debate how to use this over the next five years of funding at their meeting in February.
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