Homeless hired to spruce up downtown for RNC

Homeless find hope through RNC jobs

CLEVELAND - Alan Jordan's been homeless after getting out of prison.

But he is no longer jobless.

Alan is one of about a dozen homeless men  working in an expanded  program called Seeds, a partnership between the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.

"I probably wouldn't have gotten a chance without this program," he said.

Alan and other crew members are working minimum wage jobs planting flowers, mulching and cleaning up downtown in preparation for the Republican National Convention.

"When I got into this program, I found out I was a good worker...We work our butts off . We want it to look nice for downtown Cleveland," he exclaimed.

Alan's learned planting zinnias, as he was Wednesday, is not just shoving flowers in the ground.

"You've got to know how deep to dig the hole. You have to know how much pressure to put on the plants and how much to spread them apart, " he said.

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance' s Joe Marinucci said, "The goal is to improve and beautify the spaces and give work opportunities to individuals."

Mike Green, of the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry said, "It gives them a feeling of self worth. They're doing something positive for the city and themselves,"

Politics are now taking a back seat to plants for Alan.

"If I'm helping out the Republicans, it doesn't make any difference to me. I'm just trying to make the city look good and people feel good when they're in Cleveland." he said.

But for the record, he's "kind of going with Hillary."

The Alliance has already  promoted some Seeds workers to  full-time year round jobs with benefits in its Ambassadors program, the vested workers who help guide visitors and keep downtown clean

Alan and other workers aspire toward that.

But other landscaping jobs are a possibility with their new skill set.

"It's now like working...It's like having fun and making money and making people happy. What could be better than that, " Alan asks.

 


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