In February 2016 at Calvary Episcopal Church we invited the community to gather together to consider our homeless neighbors; we called these events Homeless Summits. Mayors, police management, government officials, private business leaders, and many agency directors gathered here to learn about and explore a method successfully used in Albuquerque to help those in need in Memphis. Our goal was to find a way to help decrease panhandling, eliminate blight, introduce services to help meet panhandlers’ needs, and pay our poor neighbors a living wage for a day’s work.
Thanks to many stakeholders, the Hospitality HUB (whose mission is connecting individuals with the resources they need to begin their journey out of homelessness) secured the funding for Work Local.
Beginning the fall of 2016, the Hospitality HUB obtained a van to locate panhandlers who wanted to work. They started two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, picking up ten men and women who stand on the side of the road with signs saying "Hungry." Now the van goes out five days a week (and soon will go out 7 days) where they clean blighted areas for $10/hour for five hours of work. Then local chefs or parishioners provide lunch. Public Works provides the job sites and tools to clean up blight, and the Hospitality HUB secures a night’s housing for the workers.
The Hospitality HUB encourages Work Local participants to access their case management opportunities so they can meet panhandlers' needs. Besides the cleanup of blighted areas, Work Local’s long-range benefit to Memphis is to give the participants a chance to change their lives by offering them another, a better, option. Join Calvary in supporting this exciting endeavor. Calvary parishioners are asked to provide lunch for 10 workers once a month. If you are available to cook and drop off a lunch or pay $40/month for the lunch, please call Christine Todd, 901-312-5214