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Government Relations

City of Syracuse and Onondaga County Launch Hire Ground Workforce Development

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh have announced another new collaboration – a day work program for homeless panhandlers called “Hire Ground Workforce Development.” The city and county have come together to jointly address an aspect of local poverty in a unique, creative and positive way that also involves a local nonprofit organization.

Hire Ground is an alternative to panhandling, a stepping stone for individuals to gain confidence, work experience and have access to services to better prepare them for employment and independence. The program will pick up nine individuals several days a week, drive them to a pre-determined worksite within the city for five hours of work for which they will be paid $50, and provide a lunch and a counselor caseworker to offer support. The idea for Hire Ground emanated as an alternative to recently proposed legislation to ban aggressive panhandling. Modeled after a program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the majority of the funding has come from Onondaga County with additional contributions from Richard Lester of Ziebart and Roger Burdick.

“We applaud the city and county for looking at creative solutions to addressing one of our community’s most pressing challenges,” said CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson. “When government agencies, the nonprofit sector and the business community collaborate to address local poverty and provide meaningful work experience and support services, it’s a win-win for the entire community.”

The program starts May 1 and will be operated by John Tumino’s In My Father’s Kitchen and overseen by Syracuse’s Emergency Solutions Grant Office. For more information on Hire Ground, contact In My Father’s Kitchen at 315-308-1561 or P.O. Box 11328, Syracuse, NY 13218 or https://inmyfatherskitchen.org.