Trukee River Reno NV CC Darron Birgenheier

A picturesque river is getting a makeover while the city’s homeless in Reno, Nevada are getting a new chance at jobs and housing.

The new project, “Reno Works,” will employ twenty homeless people who are eager for work, giving them temporary jobs cleaning the banks of the Truckee River — with the goal of getting them full-time jobs afterwards.

The swift-moving Truckee flows through the heart of the city, past parks and casinos, but also past homeless camps and litter. The city will spend $110,000 on the project to relocate campers into shelters and provide job training for those who want to work.

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“Many shelter residents want a job desperately, but face many obstacles that prevent them from working,” says Pat Cashell, Regional Director of Volunteers of America, one of the project partners. “This program will help remove those barriers so they can obtain employment and feel the pride of standing on their own feet again.”

It’s also about cleaning up the river for the community.

The homeless workers will be paid $10 an hour for their three days of work, but the opportunity offers much more than just a temporary paycheck. The project will also pay for caseworkers and housing during an 18-week program to help the work crew members get back on their feet.

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Each participant will receive certification for continuing education from OSHA, help with writing a resume and training for job interviews, and classes on managing personal finances once they get jobs.

The main goal of Reno Works is to place each participant in a permanent job so they can secure housing on their own.

“This is a great way to support our homeless by helping them acquire the resources needed to be successful members of society,” Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung said.

(WATCH the video and READ more from NBC4) Photo by Darron Birgenheier (CC)

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