A win-win partnership in keeping the city cleaner and helping those in need.
Union Mission Social Enterprise at Work
In December 2019, Union Mission began the “Litter Clean Team” litter removal program to help expand the City of Savannah’s solid waste removal capacity and improve community cleanliness in the downtown area.
The City of Savannah awarded a one-year renewable contract to Union Mission to establish a team of workready homeless individuals and persons living with disabilities to provide litter pick-up three days a week from 1:00pm – 5:00pm along dentified major corridors including historic squares, Bay Street, River Street, Broughton Street and Factors Walk. The program enables Union Mission to provide valuable job training and employment experience for our clients and other community members who are experiencing challenges to obtaining employment.
“We are excited to partner with the City of Savannah on this initiative,” said Union Mission Executive Director, Patricia Youngquist. “Our team members see the value in working to enhance their community and the experience will serve as a stepping stone to their next success.”
The program was developed following the appearance of two-term Albuquerque Mayor, Richard Berry, as the keynote speaker at Union Mission’s Raising Hope event in the spring of 2019. Berry’s “There’s a Better Way” initiative hires the homeless to clean up the city and connects individuals to needed services and treatment. Berry’s homeless initiatives have received national and international attention and are being replicated throughout the country and his TED talk on “There’s a Better Way” currently has over a million views.
After a quarter of a century of providing her services, Johnson retired, passing the leadership torch to fellow volunteer, Angie Nichuals. “It’s going to be tough filling her shoes but we are all very enthusiastic about serving the community of people that need us,” said Nichuals. “It’s an exciting feeling to embark on this next chapter.”
The Litter Clean Team program aligns with the City of Savannah’s strategic plan goals to re-establish and preserve neighborhoods and provide workforce development for the unemployed and underemployed. Youngquist says the program is one of the many ways in which Union Mission is helping homeless and disengaged individuals integrate back into the community.
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