Gresham debuts new volunteer program to aid homeless

May 9, 2018

Homeless individuals in Gresham are volunteering to clean up parks, open spaces, and give back to local nonprofits through a new partnership between the City of Gresham and Central City Concern’s (CCC) Community Volunteer Corps program. This partnership offers mentored volunteer work experiences for homeless individuals currently accessing services to improve their lives.

Last year, the City debuted the CCC Clean Start program, which provides paid work for previously homeless individuals to clean up abandoned homeless camps and other important areas of the city. Over the course of a year, the two-person Gresham team cleaned up 6,581 bags of trash, removed 433 shopping carts and disposed of 1,635 hazardous waste items. Through CCC’s Community Volunteer Corps, individuals who are not immediately ready for employment or a program such as CCC Clean Start can gain new skills, improve work habits and prepare themselves for permanent employment. The City gains a dedicated resource five days a week to pick up litter, clean up parks and help our non-profit partners. CCC pays volunteers a stipend for their work and offers successful participants a letter of recommendation to future employers.

“Gresham prides itself on our practical, yet compassionate, approaches to the complex issue of homelessness. The CCC Community Volunteer Corps program is a win-win. The community benefits from clean open spaces and parks, and the program creates a path to employment for homeless individuals in need,” said Mayor Shane Bemis.

Since the debut of the program in Gresham in March, volunteers have contributed 480 hours of work in the community. The full scope of the City’s efforts to address homelessness can be found at GreshamOregon.gov/Homelessness.

To report litter or other issues that CVC or Clean Start could assist with, download the MyGresham app or visit GreshamOregon.gov/MyGresham.