Penticton’s ASK Wellness Society wants to expand its ambassador clean-up program and is asking city council for support.
Council is being asked to approve $5,000 towards the program that will see residents of Burdock House and Fairhaven clean up discarded needles, garbage and litter around hot spots in Penticton.
But the funds needed are not coming out of the city budget, said a city staff report coming to Tuesday’s council meeting.
The $5,000 will be allocated from the UBCM Strengthening Communities grant that the city has already received.
The hope with this initiative is that residents of Burdock House and Fairhaven will have a sense of purpose, contribute to the community and clean up areas that would normally be cleaned by city staff. This will free up city staff to attend to other priorities in the community, said the staff report.
The clean-up program would not result in any staffing reductions, according to the report.
The areas to clean up would be hot spots where used needles and excess garbage and litter are.
The program got its start this summer.
What started as an informal Sunday clean-up by residents of Fairhaven supportive housing turned into a full ambassador program that has seen a very positive response from the community.
Within one month, more than 2,000 pounds of garbage and 55 sharps had been collected by the ambassador volunteers.
ASK Wellness Society launched the Ambassador Program on Aug. 5, with volunteers feeling more connected to their community and area residents feeling grateful for the the clean-up.
“The community clean-up is intended to offer our residents valuable experience and opportunities, as well as instill a sense of pride in our community and community-member relations,” said tenant support worker Keith Girard, who has helped lead the project since its inception.
One Burdock resident who is part of the program said: “I like that as a person with a disability, I can still do the work.”
The program helps people involved develop pre-employment skills, a work ethic, and provides them with a sense of pride and ownership.
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