Significant expansion announced for the “Wheels of Change” homeless employment program
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A homeless employment program that helps clean up San Diego’s streets, sidewalks and vacant lots, is being doubled in size. It involves the Alpha Project and the generosity of a family, along with a local philanthropic foundation.
The Alpha Project now has two vans to take a crew of 20 from it’s bridge shelter in Barrio Logan to locations all over the city. With one van, there was just 10 people, confined mostly to the City’s core area. Plus, the program is now five days a week, as opposed to three.
The first van was donated a year and a half ago by a family-run program called Wheels for Change. The arrival of a second vehicle is courtesy of the Lucky Duck Foundation involving local philanthropists Dan Shea and Peter Seidler.
Employing the homeless involves a lot more than a paycheck. What we saw today as 20 orange-shirted people cleaned up a vacant lot in El Cerrito, were individuals putting their lives back together through enhanced self-esteem.
As one resident of the bridge shelter told us, “Everybody needs an opportunity.” Added Ed Bidwell, “When you are told over and over you’re worthless, you start to believe it.”
The Wheels for Change family also gave the Alpha Project a check for $10,000, in the name of the high school senior, Kevin Barber, who joined his mother in developing the program.