Elk Grove, Calif., has landed on an effective solution for keeping homeless encampments clean: They are paying the residents to clean up the camps. “They actually don’t like to live like this, so having that sense of community and pride keeping their area clean has really shown,” said Jennifer McCue, Elk Grove Police Department Homeless Outreach Officer. Each time residents clean up their area and bag up trash for pickup, they can receive a $20 gift card from the city. “The cost of running this program for over a year has been under $10,000, when we might have run through that in one month previously just doing the regular cleanups,” said Sarah Bontrager, Elk Grove’s Housing and Public Services manager.

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