'I pick up everything’: Homeless hired to clean Portland beach

Homeless hired to clean Portland beach

PORTLAND (KOIN/CNN) - A non-profit organization in Oregon is working to keep beaches clean and the homeless employed.

Scott Adkins walked the shores of Audrey McCall Beach as he has for many months picking up trash.

Adkins said he’s found many things such as shoes, clothing, jewelry lots of broken glass and cigarette butts.

The man has been houseless for the last two years.

But, he’s found a sense of purpose in part by keeping the beach clean.

“If this stops somebody from coming down here, it would break my heart,” he said.

He’s a different face of the homeless community, working now in coordination with Ground Score, a non-profit organizing groups of can-and-bottle collectors, dumpster divers and other low-income individuals who reuse and recycle as a means of survival.

The group now pays Adkins $15 an hour to clean up public spaces inundated with trash.

“The fact is, I don’t leave anything, I pick up everything everywhere I go,” Adkins said. “It’s just something that I do. I don’t like our city trashy. I’m a member of the city and the community and my name is Scott and I’m going to be here and I’m grateful.”

Barbie Weber, of Ground Score, said employing homeless people to pick up the city is good for everybody and it might well help eliminate negative stereotypes people associate with homelessness.

"We naturally pick up trash (because) we don’t like to see a bunch of trash spread around, and then we get blamed for it,” she said. “So, a lot of people in our community have already been doing what we’re talking about.”

The new program, working now to clean beaches and other public spaces and get paid in the process.

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